The generic name Exocarpos was more commonly spelled Exocarpus in the past.
Common Name: Scented Ballart
Exocarpos odoratus is a shrub with erect branches; it can grow from 30 - 200cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
Australia - southwestern Western Australia.
Sandy soils in coastal areas, growing in Agonis flexuosa woodland[
]. Coastal dunes and coastal cliffs, growing on sandy and sandy-clay soils
Exocarpos odoratus is native to the Mediterranean climate of southwestern Australia, with its hot dry summers and cooler, moist to wet winters.
The plant prefers a well-drained soil, but sometimes experiences seasonal inundation of the soil[
A major difficulty if trying to cultivate this species is that, although it photosynthesizes much of its own nutrients, it is also semi-parasitic on the roots of other plants, notably Eucalyptus species. Seeds germinate fairly easily, and cuttings will usually root successfully, but the seedlings and cuttings usually die unless they have root access to a host plant. Exocarpos species generally cause very little harm to the host plant.
Fruit - raw. The fruiting receptacle is enlarged, to 3mm long, expanded at the apex[
The edible, fleshy, fruit-like structure is actually an enlarged, succulent section of the flower stalk (receptacle), beyond which the seed and true fruit protrude[
Propagation and establishment of species in this genus is difficult due to the semi-parasitic nature of the plant. Some success has being achieved in propagation from both seed and cuttings, but the plants generally do not survive once planted out[
Sowing the seed in situ near where potential host plants are growing, and protecting the seed with an upturned glass or plastic container would be worth a try. Alternatively, try sowing the seed in a pot where a small potential host is growing - the main disadvantage to this is that the two plants will be in very close proximity and the Exocarpos could be outcompeted.