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  1. Bursaria_spinosa_flowers_high White fragrant flowers by L. von Richter
  2. Bursaria_spinosa_fruit_high Fruit (7mm long, 9mm wide) by L. von Richter
  3. Bursaria_spinosa_plant_high Bursaria spinosa subsp. spinosa (5-10m tall) by L. von Richter

Sweet Bursaria (Blackthorn)

Bursaria spinosa subsp. spinosa


  • A woody shrub to small tree, usually with thorny branches.
  • Size: 5 – 10 m high.
  • Leaves: glabrous, dark green,  20 – 44 mm long and 5 – 9 –mm wide.
  • Flowers: White, 6 – 10 mm wide, fragrant
  • Fruit/seed: Dark brown, flattened capsules in clusters. Each capsule to 7 mm long and 9 mm wide containing on average 4 seeds. Seeds reddish brown, flat and oval to kidney shaped. 

What to Observe

  • First fully open single flower
  • Full flowering (record all days)
  • End of flowering (when 95% of the flowers have faded)
  • Open seed pods containing seeds (record all days)

ClimateWatch Science Advisor

Warmer, wetter summers will extend the flowering period. May increase seed set and could extend the range of the species if pollinators are available.

When To Look

  • December to July
  • Flowering: December – February in NSW
  • Fruiting: June – July in NSW

Where To Look

  • Open Eucalypt woodlands from coastal to alpine regions

Sweet Bursaria (Blackthorn) distribution map - ANBG

Sweet Bursaria (Blackthorn) distribution map - ANBG



Elliot, W. and Jones, D. (1982) Encyclopaedia of Australian Plants suitable for cultivation. Volume 2 Lothian Publishing Company Pty Ltd. Australia.


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  1. What Else?

    Bursaria spinosa subsp. lasiophylla is another subspecies that is similar but found in eucalypt woodlands with heavier soils. Often found at higher altitudes in tablelands or low mountain ranges in SE Australia.

  1. Did You Know?

    Resprouts after fire

    Often found with Pittosporum Beetles (Lamprolina aenipennis)crawling on it.