Nature conservation

Threatened species

Bitter Quandong - profile

Indicative distribution

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The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Santalum murrayanum
Conservation status in NSW: Endangered
Commonwealth status: Not listed
Profile last updated: 17 Aug 2018


Tall shrub or small shapely tree to five metres high, with long pendulous branchlets and smooth bark. Leaves grey-green or silvery-green, opposite or some in whorls of 3, narrow and tapering to a curved point, mostly 1.5-3.5 cm long, 1.5-4 mm wide. Flowers small and cream-coloured, clustered in the leaf axils. Fruit spherical, somewhat fleshy, green to brownish red, 2-3 cm in diameter, the stone slightly pitted. The fruit is very bitter and is considered inedible.


The Bitter Quandong occurs between inland southern Western Australia, through South Australia, east to north-western Victoria and south-western New South Wales. Many of the NSW records occur within the vicinity of the Sturt Highway (between Dareton and Balranald), but recently more plants have been over a much wider distribution, including between Kyalite and Moulamein in the east, west of Lake Victoria in the west and in mallee to the south east of Menindee in the north. Only one plant is known from formal conservation reserves in NSW (Mallee Cliffs NP), though another is known from the Travelling Stock Route within northern Mungo NP and a number are known from various conservation initiatives on leasehold land.

Habitat and ecology

  • Usually grows in mallee communities. Generally grows in gravely and sandy loam soils on dunes, in open woodland and tall shrubland. Also recorded in sand in spinifex-shrub steppe.
  • NSW populations found in mallee habitats on soft linear dune-crests, with deep and well-drained calcareous earths or red and brown sands, loamy sands or clay-loams. Associated species include Eucalyptus socialis and Pimelea microcephala.
  • Associated species include Eucalyptus costata, E. leptophylla, E. dumosa, Callitris verrucosa and Triodia scariosa.
  • Flowers from August to January (spring to early summer). Fruits seen mostly during September and October, however fruiting collections have also been made from January to August.
  • Santalum species are root-parasitic shrubs or small trees. This species is sometimes found as an isolated tree, but is also regularly found in small to large groups (up to 28 plants) scattered over a relatively small area. Many plants appear to be senescent, though juvenile plants are also present in some populations.

Regional distribution and habitat

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Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Murray Darling DepressionSouth Olary Plain Known None
Other StateSA Known None
Other StateVIC Known None