Australian Native Plant Profile: Wombat Berry (Eustrephus latifolius)

Updated on May 2, 2019
TheNerdyGardener profile image

I like to write articles containing handy gardening tips, secrets, and general botanical and horticultural nerdiness.

Common Names: Wombat Berry, Orange Vine
Scientific Name: Eustrephus latifolius
Synonyms: Eustrephus angustifolius, Eustrephus brownii
Family: Asparagaceae

Wombat berry (Eustrephus latifolius) is a tuberous-rooted, evergreen, twinning or multi-stemmed scrambling vine reaching 6m high on a suitable trellis. It may scramble and form a clump 3m across when grown without support.

Characteristic Features of Wombat Berry

Eustrephus latifolius has attractive, small flowers that fringed margins on the inner three of six white to pale pink petals. As its name suggests, Wombat Berry produces plenty of showy orange berries which persist and en masse can be used as a long, colourful display through Winter.

The berries also attract fruit-eating birds, and the tuberous roots attract wombats and other native root-eating mammals. Wombat berry is moderately fast growing but not excessively vigorous which is handy as it's unlikely to smother other plants. Eustrephus latifolius is an adaptable plant that thrives in sun or partial shade. It can tolerate extended periods of dryness once established. Wombat berry will grow on most soil types and even tolerates light frost. Eustrephus latifolius suffers from no major pests or diseases.

Wombat Berry fruit start off green but turn orange as they ripen and eventually split to reveal the black seeds and white aril flesh within.
Wombat Berry fruit start off green but turn orange as they ripen and eventually split to reveal the black seeds and white aril flesh within. | Source

Horticultural Uses for Eustrephus latifolius

Wombat berry can be planted at the base of trees and allowed to grow up them to provide added interest. Alternatively, they can be trellised along fenced or used to form dense multi-stemmed ground-covering clump without support. Eustrephus latifolius can be used as part of an edge planting or ground cover when grown this way. Wombat berry is an excellent plant for growing in a hanging basket; its foliage will trail over the sides of the pot and form a cascade.

Indigenous Use of Eustrephus latifolius

People from various indigenous races of Australia ate the small underground tubers of Eustrephus latifolius both raw or baked. The tubers of wombat berry are reported to have a sweet earthy flavour when eaten raw, I have eaten wombat berry tubers personally and can confirm this, and although the sweetness is mild, they are not unpleasant.

The thin, crisp, white aril inside the fruits of wombat berries were also eaten, but the numerous black seeds and skin were discarded. I have also eaten the white arils, but the quantity of seed and small amount of flesh means that a lot of harvesting and processing is required to get decent edible portions from the berries. The white arils of the berries unfortunately possess little in the way of flavour. The vine-stems of Eustrephus latifolius stripped of leaves were also used to tie objects which including their use in food preparation.

The 19th-century European botanist Baron von Mueller noted that the tubers of Wombat Berry could be suitable as a large scale food crop if enlarged through culture and breeding; unfortunately, little progress has been made towards this end.

Limitations When Planting Wombat Berry

Wombat berry is likely to be out-competed by more vigorous plants and as such should not be planted where it may be over-run by other more vigorous climbers or groundcovers.

The flowers of Eustrephus latifolius have alternately-arranged fringed petals and petals without fringes.
The flowers of Eustrephus latifolius have alternately-arranged fringed petals and petals without fringes. | Source

Ideal Conditions for Growing Wombat Berry

Eustrephus latifolius is commonly found in growing in sandy soils on hillsides in open forests, dry woodlands, heathland and rainforest margins all the way along the East coast of Australia and into Melanesia, New Guinea, and New Caledonia.

Wombat berry does best in dappled shade, but it can handle full sun once established. Wombat berry prefers to grow in a location that receives even rainfall throughout the year, allowing a constantly moist soil to be maintained, maximizing growth. Eustrephus latifolius prefers growing where there is a mildly acidic to mildly alkaline soil pH.

Culture of Eustrephus latifolius Plants

Enrich the soil prior to planting wombat berry by adding humus. Ensure the soil is free draining before planting your wombat berry plants. Trim and tip-prune you wombat berries regularly to encourage a compact habit and promote heavier flowering. Eustrephus latifolius should be pruned to contain its size once flowering has finished as required. Eustrephus latifolius plants benefit from the addition of organic material to the soil each year during spring, avoid damaging the underground tubers while doing this.

Container-grown wombat berries can be fertilised with a native plant fertiliser in spring to promote growth. Propagation of Eustrephus latifolius is achieved easiest by using fresh seed, although cuttings and layerings will also strike if they are kept moist and allowed plenty of time to develop roots. Large, well-established scrambling patches of wombat berry can be dug and divided in spring and replanted in other areas of the garden.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 TheNerdyGardener


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      22 months ago

      Really useful as I grow this in Sth Gippsland and weave random baskets with it.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      i really like it, it gave me a lot of information on my research i was doing for school


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)