Recognised by the bright orange berries and glossy green foliage, Petalostigma grow as an understory tree in forested areas. Some species grow to be small trees at around 4m in height with P. pubescens being used as street tree in some coastal areas.
The slightly taller growing P. triculare can reach to nearly 6m in height, again best is well drained soils. The flowers are small and a pale green,really insignificant in appearance however they are remarkably fragrant.
Probably the best known of the species is the ‘Quinine Berry’ Petalostigma pubescens sometimes called ‘Bitter Bark’. Growing to 6m Petalostigma pubescens can make a good screening plant. This is a tree from the dry schlerophyll forests of Northern New South Wales, NT and Queensland, also found in New Guinea.
The orange colored fruits have been used in traditional medicine and the hard wood to made spears and other implements. The fruit or berries have a very bitter taste, however they do not actually contain Quinine.
Others include Petalostigma labicheoides with nice yellow flowers, Petalostigma quadriloculare a a small shrub to around 1m.
Petalostigma triloculare or ‘Cracker Bush’. P.trilocular is variously called Quinine Berry, Quinine Bush, Long-leaf Bitter Bark, small orange fruit that appears segmented like an orange appearing from autumn through winter
Petalostigma in general are a hardy drought tolerant and frost tolerant plant that make a good screen or cover.