Blue Quandong, Elaeocarpus grandis
Mount Warning National Park. Blue Quandong, sometimes known as E. angustifolius. In the background is a large Strangling Fig.
This photo would have been better if I hadn't smudged the camera lens with sun-cream earlier in the day. The laser range finder returned a figure of near 50 metres to the top of this tree. One of the tallest I've seen of this widespread species. The buttressed roots are a notable feature in the rainforest.
Elaeocarpus is an ancient, mainly tropical or sub-tropical genus of some 350 species. Considered by some scientists to be of a Gondwana origin. Found from Madagascar, India to Japan and South-East Asia, Lord Howe Island, Australia, New Zealand, the south west Pacific and Hawaii. The islands of Borneo and New Guinea have the greatest concentration of species.
This group is known for the attractive blue fruit. In particular, this species has a large blue drupe, which is used in jewellery.
When cleaned of the flesh and polished, the stones are used in India as necklaces, bracelets and other ornaments, stained or set in gold. Hard, pitted seed coats may be used for Chinese checkers and have a religious significance in Asian countries.
The fruit is said to be edible, but they're not very tasty!