Blue Tongue: Melastoma affine

This showy little shrub is Melastoma affine or Native Lasiandra, it really does look like a dwarf form of the incredibly popular south American Tibouchina, which lights up the streets of many inner western Sydney suburbs. However, this is not only an Australian native Lasiandra but is also a bush food.


After the flowers finish the brown scaly capsules burst open to expose the purplish black pulp (sorry no photos yet), the fruit is sometimes sweet sometimes bitter and stains the mouth blue, hence the common name of ‘Blue Tongue’.



These Melastoma are planted in my friends front garden on the south side of their house, and the ones that get, no sun at all are flowering their heads off. Theses plants come from Tropical Northern Australia, where they are found on creek margins, in swamps and near the coast in wetland conditions. They can get to about 2 metres high but realistically in a residential garden like this they are a smaller shrub.


In this garden my friend assures me he never gives them extra water and they are thriving! they would be lucky to have been in the ground a year at this point. I find they are a useful plant for when I am doing a blended garden,as they can be mixed in with exotics without creating a scene. Here they are growing happily alongside Ceratopetalum ‘Johannas Xmas’ and Indigofera australis.

One reply on “Blue Tongue: Melastoma affine”

  1. Benjamin Biibat on

    Can Blue Tongue be grown in the midwest
    Chicago to be exact? Will it winter indoors ?

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