An under-utilised native tree: Glochidion ferdinandi

, ,

This is the ever adaptable Cheese tree Glochidion ferdinandi, I would love to see these used more widely in our streetscape as street trees but also as shade trees in gardens or parks. They have the same glossy luscious look as a Lilly Pilly or Waterhousia but with the added benefit of being semi-deciduous in winter.

Glochidion ferdinandi is named after its sweet little cheese parcel shaped fruit which burst open to reveal bright red seeds which attract a range of fruit and seed eating birds including the, Lewin’s Honeyeater, Olive-backed Oriole, rainforest pigeons and doves, and parrots.

The Cheese tree grows from anywhere between 5 and 20 metres, sometimes it can be seen as a suckering shrub if it’s in an unfavourable or stress inducing position.
The leaves are a food source for the larvae of the Shining Pencil-blue Butterfly.

The dense crown of Glochidion ferdinandi lends it to be utilised as a great screening tree or it can even be clipped to create a tall hedge. It grows quickly and once established is very hardy.
What more could you ask for from a native tree?


14 responses to “An under-utilised native tree: Glochidion ferdinandi”

  1. Delwyn Polzin

    Are glochidion-ferdinandi trees frost and drought tolerant? We need a good shade and wind break tree around our cattle yards. I have thought about planting lilly pilly?

    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi Delwyn,

      I don’t think Glochidion ferdinandi would be tough enough as a wind break. What about a Casuarina species or a local Eucalyptus?



  2. John

    How do I get rid of the cheese tree suckers? Who do I get? It going under the house and everywhere.

    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi John,

      You can prune them or pull them out by hand. The suckers will be attached to roots of the main tree so you don’t want to be too vigorous pulling them out as this will also damage the main tree. The reason the main tree would be suckering is because it’s overall health of the isn’t doing very well. Some native fertilizer/care for the main tree would be a good thing to do and many a check for insect damage.

      Good luck,

  3. Tim Clarkson

    Unsure of its hardiness, but for wind break, hardy but also a rainforest tree you could look at Brush Box as an alternative. Lilly pillys are drought hardy when older, but will need shading abd watering a lot while small.

  4. Pat

    Are the leaves good for compost?

    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi Pat,

      Yes, they should be fine in the compost,



  5. Carolyn

    Thank you for this article. I have found Glochidian species to be very hardy. They are also beautiful. They prune up well and remain glossy green when other other plants are suffering during those dry times. Of course, it is difficult for some to let go of the usual screening plants sold in nurseries. Good on you for recommending something different.

  6. Pauline

    Hello Kath!
    I read recently that the roots of the Cheese tree can be toxic to dogs! I’m concerned because my daughter’s dog is a ground forager and has been eating the green fruit that the birds drop and also digging in the area!
    The tree is on my neighbour’s property but overhangs my yard.
    Is the fruit toxic to dogs and how far below the ground surface are the roots please?

    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi Pauline,
      I have just done a bit of research about the toxicity of this plant and read one article describing 2 dogs having eaten the roots of this plant and surviving liver failure, would this be what you have read? I cannot see any evidence of the fruit being toxic.
      Is your daughters dog ok after consuming the fruit?
      Best Wishes

  7. Matt

    Hello, hoping you can give some advice on my cheese tree. I have a couple of them that have been working as a great privacy screen, they are well established and at least 15m tall. I’m worried as it has come into spring and they have lost more than 70% of their leaves and they are still dropping. We have only have had a couple of unseasonable hot days so far so not sure if it was the heat, can’t detect and pests. And I have been on the property for many years and have never witnessed them
    Losing this many leaves before – any ideas would be be most appreciated.

    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi Matt,
      The Cheese tree is semi-deciduous so is not unusual to loose leaves but as you said you haven’t witnessed this amount previously. I have wondered if your unseasonably hot days were also windy?
      It is a rainforest tree that does like to be sheltered so if it has been windy this may be the cause.
      Best wishes,

  8. Frances Fordham

    Hi Kath,
    I have a fabulous 25 year old cheese tree that is 12 metres high. Sadly it has to be removed later this year. I know the wood, leaves and fruit are non toxic so can compost some of it.
    However there will be a huge amount of trunk to dispose of so wondering about other uses. Could it be dried to make some plank benches to sit on in garden? I know it is not considered termite resistant but know nothing about how easy the wood can be turned etc.
    Would it be safe to give logs to my neighbours to burn in their fire pits and wood bar b q?
    Any ideas welcome

    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi Frances,
      Could you possibly mulch the trunk and use the mulch on-site in your garden?
      Some of our customers have repurposed trunks as bird bath stands.
      I spoke with someone about using the wood to turn into benches, they have no experience with wood from this tree but have said it could take a while to dry before using in woodwork.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related posts

Birdbaths designed for birds

Mallee Birdbaths are specifically designed to serve birds. The copper dishes are broad and shallow, allowing birds to land on the edge and walk into the water. The baths are modern, elegant and durable. They are locally made in the Illawarra (NSW, Australia) using materials that will weather well and last decades. For help on which dish to choose, go here.