Waterhousea floribunda
Family: Weeping Lillypilly

Waterhousea floribunda is one of the many trees now making its home in Melbourne from northern Australia. This tree is native to northern, coastal New South Wales and extends north into Queensland. It has been used in Melbourne since the early 1900s, but is becoming more popular because of its relatively quick growth, lush foliage, and screening potential.

Like the other lillypillies, Weeping Lillypilly has lustrous, dark green, evergreen foliage. If not pruned, this foliage can extend to the base of the tree, and if clipped, can become very dense. As a screen, Weeping Lillypilly can be kept to a height of 4-5m, with a spread of 2-3m. As it grows quite quickly, formal hedges will need to be tended at least twice a year.

As a park tree, W. floribunda will grow into a round-headed tree typically to 15 metres tall, and frequently as-broad-as-tall. Its flowers are small, white and fragrant, but unlike many other lillypillies, the fruits are white and shed quickly. Fruit dropping on pavements does not seem to be as problematic as with Acmena smithii.

Coming from northern Australian rainforests, W. floribunda is not strongly drought tolerant, and requires evenly-moist soils for best growth. Its evergreen foliage can be damaged by strong, drying winds, and it should be sited away from strongly windy sites. It will grow well in light shade, with 30% of the light excluded.

There are many forms and selections of Weeping Lilypilly, but few are available commercially. Metropolitan Tree Growers are working to find the best form with some frost tolerance for Melbourne growing.

Typical mature height: 15-20m

Useful in: screening & parks

Sites for best growth: moist, protected from wind