Blue Tongue

Melastoma affine

The Blue Tongue gets its name from its sweet, blue-black fruits that stain the mouth. It is known as Native Lasiandra, or as “Dhumulu” in the Yolngu language. In Australia, it can be found growing wild in the Kimberley region of WA, across the Northern Territory and Queensland, and as far south as Kempsey on the New South Wales coast.

Blue Tongue flowers continually throughout Spring and Summer, producing showy mauve to purple flowers that last just a few days before small black berries begin to appear. This sweet fruit is best eaten fresh, and offers a fun and messy novelty for children.

Berries can be picked and eaten directly off the shrub.

This hardy evergreen prefers part shade, and will need protection from hot winds and hot afternoon sun in the Summer. Ensure a rich, moist soil that drains freely. With its leathery, dark green foliage and contrasting red stems, this shrub is the perfect addition to an ornamental garden.

Blue Tongue grows fast, reaching up to 3m in height. It produces no nectar, but plenty of pollen, and will attract bees, hoverflies, and other pollen-loving critters.

Aboriginal name(s):

  • Dhumulu (Yolngu)
How often should I prune my Blue Tongue shrub?
You’ve probably noticed that a Blue Tongue grows very fast. Feel free to prune it throughout the year to keep it at a manageable size.

Will my Blue Tongue survive the winter?
Blue Tongue is a rainforest species that will tolerate some cold, but may not survive a heavy frost. If your tree gets hit by a frost early in the cold season, you’ll need to protect it from further damage. Water well, then cover with burlap, sheets or a tarp that extends to the ground to trap in warmth – use a frame or stakes to minimise contact between the cover and the plant.

Quick care

Suitable for part-shade

Protect from frost

Height 1-3m
Width 1.2m
Fruits from:
Year 1

Bird attracting

Attracts bees & insects

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