Latin Name: Leycesteria formosa
Origin: Native to western China, India, Nepal, Burma.
Alternative Name(s): Elisha’s Tears.
Known Hazards: None known.
Habitat: Scrub and shady forests, often by streams.
Edibility Rating: 2 (1-5)
Medicinal Rating: 0 (1-5)
Physical Characteristics: Deciduous multistemmed shrub to 3 (rarely to 4) m high. Stems erect, hollow. Leaves ovate with pointed apex, to 15 (rarely to 24) cm long, to 8 (rarely to 12) cm wide, lower surface paler than upper surface, margins entire or shallowly toothed, on a stalk to 2 (rarely to 5) cm long. Fruits ovoid, to 10 mm long. Seeds ovoid to ellipsoid, to 1.5 mm long, brown.
Flowers: In drooping compact spikes, to 10 cm long. Flowers purple to white, to 2 cm long. Flowers mostly spring and summer.The flowers are hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Distinguishing features: Distinguished by opposite leaves joined by a ridge across the stem; flowers surrounded by purple bracts, petals white to pale pink and mostly joined with 5 almost equal lobes; fruits hanging and dark crimson when ripe.
Dispersal: Spread by animal dispersed seed and water dispersal of fruit and seed.
Fruit- one report said that the fruit is edible. In the better forms, the fully ripe and very soft fruit is very sweet with a treacle-like flavour, though in other forms it has a very bitter taste and is not very desirable
The hollow stems can be made into whistles and flutes.
Notes: Garden escape in moist gullies and high rainfall areas. A major weed in Mt Buffalo National Park, Victoria and considered to be an important weed in the Queenstown area, Tasmania. Also an increasing problem in the Blue Mountains, NSW.