Our site is currently being updated and pages are changing regularly. We thank you for your patience during this transition and hope that you find our new site easy to use.

Silver quandong

Scientific name

Elaeocarpus grandis. Family: Elaeocarpaceae.

Local names

Blue fig, blueberry ash, blue quandong, white quandong, cooloon.

Description and natural occurrence

A tall tree attaining height of 35 m and a stem diameter up to 2 m. The stem is buttressed prominently at the base and covered with a grey, smooth, slightly wrinkled bark. The older leaves turn bright red before being shed and this can be used to recognise silver quandong in the forest.

Silver quandong occurs along the eastern coast of Australia, most commonly between Taree, New South Wales and Maryborough, Queensland. Small populations also occur on the Eungella Range and between Ingham and Cooktown. A disjunct stand occurs beside the mouth of the Daly River, Northern Territory.

Wood appearance

Colour. The heartwood is generally white to cream white. In some cases it can have greyish or light brownish tones. There is no noticeable colour difference between sapwood and heartwood.

Grain. Porous and open grained. There is no pronounced figure but a characteristic of the species is its long straight vessel lines on dressed longitudinal surfaces.

Wood properties

Density. 495 kg/m3 at 12% moisture content; approximately 2 m3 of seasoned sawn timber per tonne.

Strength groups. S5 unseasoned; SD6 seasoned.

Stress grades. F5, F7, F8, F11 (unseasoned), F7, F8, F11, F14 (seasoned), when visually stress graded in accordance with AS 2082:2000, Timber - hardwood - visually stress-graded for structural purposes.

Joint groups. J4 unseasoned; JD4 seasoned.

Shrinkage to 12% MC. 4.3% (tangential); 1.4% (radial). These values apply to timber reconditioned after seasoning.

Unit shrinkage. 0.24% (tangential); 0.11% (radial). These values apply to timber reconditioned after seasoning.

Durability above-ground. Class (4) - life expectancy less than 7 years.

Durability in-ground. Class 4 - life expectancy less than 5 years.

Lyctine susceptibility. Untreated sapwood susceptible to lyctid borer attack.

Termite resistance. Not resistant.

Preservation. Sapwood readily accepts preservative impregnation but penetration of heartwood is negligible using currently available commercial processes.

Seasoning. Can be satisfactorily dried using conventional air and kiln seasoning methods.

Hardness. Soft (rated 5 on a 6 class scale) in relation to indentation and ease of working with hand tools.

Machining. Machines and turns well to a smooth surface.

Fixing. No difficulty has been experienced with the use of standard fittings and fastenings.

Gluing. Can be satisfactorily bonded using standard procedures.

Finishing. Seasoned timber will readily accept stain, polish and paint.


Construction. Once commonly used in joinery, mouldings and linings and also occasionally in general house framing, but is rarely used for these applications now.

Decorative. Plywood, furniture, shop and office fixtures, turnery, carving, inlay work, picture frames.

Others. Boat building (light), aircraft components. Has been used for archery equipment, billiard cues, beehives, venetian blinds, broom handles, templates, pattern making, boat oars, pencils, piano parts, tennis racquets, vaulting poles.

Identification features

General characteristics

Sapwood. Indistinguishable from heartwood.

Heartwood. Almost white to cream-white.

Texture. Medium to coarse; grain straight with little or no figure.

Wood structure

Growth rings. Absent.

Vessels. Medium in size, in short radial rows of 2 to 6, sometimes more. Solitary vessels and pairs tending to be oval in shape. Vessel lines distinct.

Parenchyma. Indistinguishable under a lens.

Rays. Of two sizes: fairly large and distinct under a lens, or fine and small, barely visible even under a 10-x lens.

Other features

Burning splinter test. Burns to a thin white greyish partial ash.

Further reading

Boland, DJ, Brooker, MIH, Chippendale, GM, Hall, N, Hyland, BPM, Johnston, RD, Kleinig, DA and Turner, JD (2006). Forest trees of Australia. CSIRO, Australia.

Bootle, K (2005). Wood in Australia. Types, properties and uses, (2nd edition). The McGraw-Hill Companies.

Queensland Goverment (2010). Construction timbers in Queensland: properties and specifications for satisfactory performance of construction timbers in Queensland, Class 1 and Class 10 buildings (Books 1 and 2). Queensland Government, Brisbane.

Ilic, J (1991). CSIRO Atlas of Hardwoods. Crawford House Press.

Standards Australia (2000). AS 2082-2000: Timber - hardwood - visually stress-graded for structural purposes, Australian Standard. Distributed by SAI Global Limited.