World's most bird attracting tree?

To: Geoffrey Dabb <>
Subject: World's most bird attracting tree?
From: Denis Wilson <>
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2014 19:40:53 +1100
Hi Geoffrey et al.

Just responding to the notes attached to your friend's photo of a Parrot munching on seeds of Melia azaderach or "Our White Cedar".
I can confirm that it does occur naturally as a rainforest margin plant along the Illawarra coast and down as far as Bega.

You are of course correct about its very wide international distribution. But PlantNET (RBG SYDNEY) people recognise it as completely natural here.

It can easily be seen at the bottom of Macquarie Pass.


Denis Wilson

To compromise on the environment
is to lose something - forever.

"The Nature of Robertson"

On Mon, Dec 29, 2014 at 6:57 PM, Geoffrey Dabb <> wrote:

Something on which I am sure opinions will vary. Some might reasonably propose the coconut palm or a northern hemisphere conifer.  I have seen flowering callistemons in north Queensland being attended by a half-dozen species of honeyeater, and a fruiting berrigan in western NSW can hold its own in the best company.  The question is suggested by my receiving from a French visitor to Canberra of a few weeks ago a photo from his garden in Toulouse.  This carries the description: ‘les perruches a collier sont perches et mangent les fruits des arbres: Melias azedarach ou Lila de Perse’ (apologies for omitted accent symbols).  The photo shows a plant familiar to Australians:  ‘our’ White Cedar. This is a common natural or planted or feral tree over the warmer parts of Australia.  In fact, its natural range extends southward from India.  There are early records of its wider cultivation. It was planted in 879 BCE at Nimrud, the ancient military capital of Assyria, and a Chinese test ca 300 BCE relates that the fruit was eaten by a ‘fabulous bird’.


As to its bird-attracting credentials Wikipedia has a picture of a Grey Hornbill enjoying the fruit, and states 3 hummingbird species have been recorded feeding at the flowers (it is a widespread escape in N and S America as well as Africa etc etc).  Below is the parakeet of Toulouse, the aforementioned hornbill and my own snap of a red-tailed black-cockatoo at Bourke where both the tree and the cockatoo (seasonally) are a common sight.  There is a specimen in ANBG which I have seen being used by king parrots.   



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