Little Evodia

Melicope rubra

Synonyms: Euodia, Evodiella, Butterfly Tree, Evodiella muelleri, Melicope muelleri.

This unusual tree is another gem from North Queensland, occurring from the Atherton Tablelands and then north into Papua New Guinea. It is not widely grown, partially because of it’s low frost tolerance, but also because it’s still not well known in S.E. Queensland. It’s glossy green nutmeg-fragranced leaves and pink flowers during summer and autumn make it an excellent choice as a street tree or in a suburban backyard.

Around Brisbane, Evodiella is a great performer. It grows rapidly into a neat and containable tree, up to heights of around 5-5m. It will cope with range of soil types, but like most trees, prefers something rich and free draining. It’s an evergreen species, but extreme cold may cause it to shed a lot of leaves.

Part of the attraction to this plant is its uncommon method of flowering. Little Evodia exhibits cauliflory: the placement of flowers directly on the trunk or stems, as opposed to flowering at the tip of the new growth or on specialised structures. The flowers are vibrant pink and are said to be attractive to butterflies and native birds.

At only 5m, this Melicope species is well suited to the average backyard. It’s particularly good as a feature tree, and can also be used as a shade tree if the lower limbs are pruned away. Not well suited to pots as it grows large and will not look nice if stressed.

Applications

  • Feature tree
  • Screening plant
  • Shade tree
  • Flower colour
  • Bird attracting

Care

Fairly easy to grow. Little Evodia will grow rapidly if given full sun and good soil. Will take part shade without much issue. Regular fertilizing with products such as Troforte and Organic Link will produce lush, neat growth. Keep an eye out for aphids on the new growth as these may diminish the appearance of the plant. Little Evodia needs consistent water. Periods of dry may cause it to drop a lot of leaves. Will not tolerate frost.

Features

  • Fine, green leaves
  • Pink flowers formed on stems and trunk
  • Canopy-forming habit


Size

Height: 4-8m
Width: 3-4m.

Light

Full sun to part shade.

Watering

Moderate watering. Do not let it dry out.

Growth Rate

Fast growth rate.
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