The generic name Exocarpos was more commonly spelled Exocarpus in the past.
Exocarpos strictus, Exocarpos humifusus and Exocarpus syrticola are all closely related, and further research, both in Tasmania and elsewhere in southern Australia, is needed to determine whether these taxa should be maintained at specific rank[
Xylophyllos strictus (R.Br.) Kuntze
Omphacomeria psilotoides DC.
Common Name: Pale Ballart
Exocarpos strictus is a more or less deciduous, erect shrub or small tree growing up to 3.5 metres tall. The flexible branches are sometimes pendulous near their ends[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
Australia - Tasmania, eastern South Australia, Victoria, eastern New South Wales, southeastern Queensland
Found in various habitats including eucalypt forest and river banks[
]. River banks on poor clay soils[
]. Heaths and dry sclerophyll forests[
Exocarpos strictus is found in the temperate to subtropical regions of southeast Australia, from Tasmania to southeastern Queensland.
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 stalk - raw[
]. Sweet and palatable when fully ripe, it is rather astringent before this[
]. The white to red, obovoid to broadly obovoid fruiting receptacle is 3 - 4mm long[
Fruiting receptacle broadly obovoid, 2â€“4 mm long, red, white or mauve; drupe ovoid or globular, 2.5â€“4 mm long[
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.