This short-lived perennial forb with sticky stems, commonly known Apple Bush (Pterocaulon sphacelatum) is a flowering plant species found only in Australia.

Apple Bush (Pterocaulon sphacelatum), Alice Springs, NT
Apple Bush (Pterocaulon sphacelatum), Alice Springs, NT

An erect or straggling herb that can grow up to 1.2 m in height. The leaves are 1-5 cm long, 3-15 mm wide, alternating up the stems, with the bases extending down the stems as a narrow wing. The leaves are flat and hairy below, sometimes almost hairless above, the edges entire or toothed to lobed.

The flowers can vary from green, blue, purple, pink, white. There are no petals, the flower heads are spherical to oval, borne singly at the end of the stems.

Apple Bush (Pterocaulon sphacelatum), Alice Springs, NT
Apple Bush (Pterocaulon sphacelatum), Alice Springs, NT

Quite common in Western Australia, across mainland Australia. Also found growing in the Alice Springs region. It is found in natural habitat from sub-tropical dry to continental grasslands.

Known as Apple Bush, also Applebush, and Fruit-salad Plant. The Aboriginal Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara name is Intiyanu.

Common name
Known as “Apple Bush” (also spelt “applebush”) and “Fruit-salad Plant”. There are also a number of Aboriginal names such as Intiyanu (Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara name). An aromatic plant that is used in Australian Aboriginal medicine.


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Phylum: Charophyta
  • Class: Equisetopsida
  • Subclass: Magnoliidae
  • Superorder: Asteranae
  • Order: Asterales
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Genus: Pterocaulon
  • Species: Pterocaulon sphacelatum

Footnote & References

  1. Applebush (Pterocaulon sphacelatum), iNatuarlist, https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/370042-Pterocaulon-sphacelatum

FloraFlora Index Acacia Annual Yellowtop Apple Bush (Pterocaulon sphacelatum) Australian Bluebell Banksia Batswing Coral Tree Billy Buttons Birdsville Indigo Blue Pincushion Bush Banana Cape Honeysuckle Cassia fistula (Golden Shower) Cattle Bush Common Heath Desert Oaks Drumsticks Eremophila Eucalyptus False Shaggy Mane Ficus Georges Indigo Goatshead Burr (Sclerolaena bicornis) Golden Everlasting Goodenia Grass and Grasses Grass Tree Green Bird Flower Grevillea Hakea MacDonnell Ranges Cycad Maireana scleroptera Mexican Poppy Minnie Daisy Mistletoe Family Mountain Devil Nardoo Native Apricot Orange Spade Flower Parakeelyas (Calandrinia) Pink Everlasting Pink Rock Wort Poached Egg Daisy Portulaca Ptilotus Quandong Resurrection Fern Rosy Dock Ruby Saltbush Solanum Spike Centaury Spinifex Striped Mint Bush Sturt’s Desert Pea Sturt’s Desert Rose Tall Saltbush Tar Vine Tribulus eichlerianus Upside-down Plant Urodon dasyphylla Variable Daisy Waratah White Paper Daisy Wild Passionfruit Woolly-Headed Burr Daisy