Botanical Name: Bursaria spinosa
Species: B. spinosa
*Itea spinosa Andrews
*Cyrilla spinosa (Andrews) Spreng
Common Names: Christmas Bush, Sweet Bursaria
Habitat: Bursaria spinosa is native to Australia – New South Wales, Tasmania, Victoria. It grows in forests and open places, but avoiding arid areas, in loamy soils, stony hills and on riverbanks, probably at its best near the coast.
Bursaria spinosa has a variable habit, and can grow anywhere from 1 to 12 m high. The dark grey bark is furrowed. The smooth branches are sometimes armed with thorns, and the leaves are arranged alternately along the stems or clustered around the nodes and have a pine-like fragrance when bruised. Linear to oval or wedge-shaped (ovate, obovate or cuneate), they are 2–4.3 cm long and 0.3–1.2 cm wide with a rounded apex. The fragrant flowers can occur at any time of year, but mainly appear in the summer. They are arranged in leafy pyramid-shaped panicles.
Requires a well-drained moisture retentive soil in full sun. This species only succeeds outdoors in Britain in the mildest areas of the country. Plants are hardy to at least -7°c in Australian gardens, though this cannot be translated directly to British gardens due to our cooler summers and longer, colder and wetter winters. They require a warm south or south-west facing wall in Britain, succeeding in areas where frosts are light and short lived. A good bee plant, the flowers are sweetly fragrant. Very ornamental
Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse. It does not require pre-treatment. When large enough to handle, prick the plants out into individual pots. Grow on the young plants for at least the first winter in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring or early summer. Consider giving the plants some protection from winter cold for at least their first winter outdoors. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. They require a little bottom heat if they are to root well.
Medicinal Uses: Skin. The leaves contain the coumarin ‘aesculin’ – this is used in the treatment of lupus by irradiation and as a screen from ultra-violet light in suntan lotions. Leaves contain the coumarin ‘aesculin’ which is used in the treatment of lupus by irradiation and as an ultraviolet radiation screen in suntan lotions.
Plants can be grown as a hedge in mild climates. Wood – tough, hard, close grained, easily worked. Used for tool handles, cabinet making etc
Bursaria spinosa provides nectar for butterflies and a haven for small birds. It is an important food plant for several species of butterflies and moths, particularly those of the genus Paralucia, and native bees.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.