Information about plants & gardens for Brisbane & Qld


Mimusops elengi

Spanish Cherry, Red Coondoo

Family: Sapotaceae

In spite of the common name "Spanish Cherry", this tree is actually native to southern and southeast Asia and Northern Australia.

It is valued as an ornamental tree in Asia for its attractive natural growth habit and small but highly scented flowers. The fruits are said to be edible, but unfortunately, they are hosts to Fruit Fly [1] and various parts of the plant have been used medicinally in Asia. The hard wood is also highly valued.

The tree has been widely grown in Darwin, but in spite of its great potential for urban landscaping (especially as it's not a member of the Myrtaceae family) is not well known as an ornamental elsewhere in Australia. It occurs as far south as the Mackay region [2] but the author is not currently aware if it has been tested in cultivation further south. There is a photo on Flickr taken near Miami [3] which is roughly the same latitude as Bundaberg. Although Miami's climate may be more tropical, it would seem to have potential (please get in touch if you have any experience with theis species south of Mackay).

Selection and breeding of theis species to date has been limited Many of trees currently grown in Darwin originated from seeds collected from an especially attractive form of the tree from Western Australia in the early 1980s [4]. Since then, some cultivars have been developed by Darwin Plant Wholesalers including the variegated 'Street Elegance' and 'Mini-Min', which has denser and more compact growth than the species.

Evaluation in other parts of the country and further development improved varieties (whether for cold hardiness or growth habit) could well help increase the popularity of Mimusops in future.


[1] Fruit Fly Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, Tasmania
[3] Mimusops elengi (Spanish cherry) Photo passed at Flickr, taken at Fruit & Spice Park, Florida
[4] 'Street Elegance' Plant Breeders Rights Application, IP Australia (.doc format)

Other Information Sources

Mimusops elengi (Mamajen) Society for Kimberley Indigenous Plants and Animals
Mimusops elengi Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, Singapore
Mimusops elengi Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants, The Taxonomy Research & Information Network
red coondoo Townsville Vegetation Database
Mimusops, Red Coondoo Grow Me Instead
Sapotaceae Flora of the Darwin Region, Northern Territory Government (PDF)
Mimusops elengi (Mamajen) Society for Kimberley Indigenous Plants and Animals
Mimusops elengi Biodiversity of India
Maulsari (Mimusops elengi) Flowers of India
Madhugandha..Sweet Odoured Tree Mimusops elengi Gifting Trees, India
'Street Elegance' Plant Breeders Rights Application, IP Australia (.doc format)
'Mini-Mim' Plant Breeders Rights Application, IP Australia (.doc format)
Mimusops elengi Interesting image and description of a beloved old specimen of Mimusops elengi at ABC Pool

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