Growing Joy

New shoots in the collection

Bronwen Scott

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Sauropus seedlings. I grow them in the shade, but broughtt them into the sun for the photo. © Bronwen Scott

Some weeks ago, I collected fruit from my Atherton Sauropus aka Pumpkin Fruit (Breynia macrantha) and extracted the seeds. Half of the haul went to my friends at a botanic garden for their rare plants collection and the other half remained here. Of the eight seeds I retained, seven germinated. One died — these things happen — but the other six are looking good. I am still keeping an eye out for the eighth. It might be non-viable or it might be taking its time to emerge.

When the Sauropus produced fruit, I asked a nurseryman with experience of this species if the seeds needed any special conditions.

He laughed and said, ‘No. They just pop up everywhere.’

I was sceptical. After all, this species has an extremely restricted distribution in Australia, and some of the seeds appeared scrawny and shrivelled. Not promising. But I filled propagation tubes with potting mix, poked the seeds into it — not too deep — gave them water, and left them to their own devices.

That was enough.

I can confirm: they do pop up everywhere.

The seedlings grow at their own pace. The first one to germinate has cast off the empty husk and produced a round of new leaves above the initial cotyledons, the leaves that developed inside the seed ready to…

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Bronwen Scott

Zoologist, writer, artist, museum fan, enjoying life in the tropical rainforest of Far North Queensland. She/her. Website: bronwenscott.com