Planting for cassowaries

Planting native trees and shrubs is a great way to increase and reconnect habitat for cassowaries and other wildlife.

If want to plant trees for wildlife in your garden, or are planning a larger-scale revegetation project, we recommend you check out the resources on the TREAT website, and download the list of food plants for cassowaries, gliders, possums, flying foxes, and tree kangaroos (PDF file), from the Tree Kangaroo and Mammal Group. Species known to be good food plants for cassowaries are listed below.

Cassowary-friendly planting: please remember that adult cassowaries can become aggressive, particularly when they have chicks, or if they become habituated to humans. You can help to prevent this, and protect cassowaries from cars and dogs, by discouraging interaction between cassowaries and people, and by not planting food sources too close to roads, houses, or children’s play areas, etc.  

Cassowary food plants suitable for revegetation purposes

Scientific Name, Common Name, Size (fully grown). Comments.


Acmena graveolens, Cassowary Satinash, 30m. Attractive new growth/fruit.
Acronychia acidula, Lemon Aspen, 15m. Attractive foliage, edible fruit.
Alphitonia whitei, Red Ash, 20m. Fast growing. Nectar sought after by bees.
Barringtonia calyptrata, Cassowary Pine, 15m. Good for wet sites, atttractive flowers.
Cananga odorata, Ylang Ylang, 10m. Highly performed flowers.
Canarium muelleri, Scrub Turpentine, 8m. Suited to poorer soils.
Castanospora alphandii, Brown Tamarind, 15m. Produces abundant seed crops, widespread.
Cerbera floribunda, Cassowary Plum, 10m. Attractive flowers/fruit.
Chionanthus ramiflorus, Northern Olive, 8m. Very hardy adaptable species.
Cryptocarya mackinnoniana, Mackinnon’s Laurel, 15m. Hardy species. Attractive new growth.
Cryptocarya oblata, Tarzali Silkwood, 15m. Attractive new growth/fruit.
Cryptocarya triplinervis, Brown Laurel, 8m. Hardy widespread species.
Elaeocarpus grandis, Blue Quandong, 30m. Fast grower. Attractive flowers/fruit.
Elaeocarpus eumundii, Eumundii Quandong, 20m. Attractive flowers.
Endiandra hypotephra, Rose Walnut, 15m. Adaptable fast growing species.
Endiandra sankeyana, Sankey’s Walnut, 5m. Adaptable widespread species.
Ficus congesta, Red Leaf Fig, 20m. Good for wet sites.
Ficus racemosa, Cluster Fig, 15m. Fast growing, suitable for river banks.
Litsea leefeana, Brown Bollywood, 15m. Abundant seed crop. Adaptable species.
Myristica insipida, Native Nutmeg, 30m. Fruit attractive to many birds. Sheltered sites.
Nauclea orientalis, Leichardt Tree, 10m. Semi-deciduous,prefers wet sites & riverbanks.
Neolitsea dealbata, Grey Bollywood, 10m. Adaptable species, widespread.
Pleiogynium timorense, Burdekin Plum, 10m. Very hardy species. Suitable for poorer soils.
Prunus turneriana, Almondbark, 10m. Adaptable species. Produces good seed crop.
Scolopia braunii, Brown Birch, 10m. Very adaptable species. Attracts butterflies.
Syzygium alliiligneum, Onionwood, 30m. Colourful flowers, fruit, new growth. Widespread.
Syzygium cormiflorum, Bumpy satinash, 30m. Hardy, widespread, attractive to many mammals/birds.
Syzygium kuranda, Kuranda satinash, 30m. Widespread hardy species. Attractive flowers.
Syzygium tierneyanum, River Cherry, 30m. Excellent species for stream & riverbanks.
Terminalia sericocarpa, Damson Plum, 30m. Excellent species for stream and riverbanks.

Palms & pandans

Archontophoenix alexandrae, Alexander Palm. Widespread. Excellent species for wet sites. Attracts many species of birds.
Pandanus monticola, Pandanus. Widespread rainforest pandan.
Ptychosperma elegans, Solitaire Palm. Good species for wet sites.

Shrubs & herbs

Alpinia caerulea, Common Ginger. Widespread, sheltered sites.
Cordyline petiolaris, Palm Lily. Widespread. Prefers sheltered sites.
Polyscias australianum, Ivory Basswood. Widespread, fast growing.


Faradaya splendida. Potato vine. Widespread, attractive flowers/fruit.
Melodorum leichardtii. Zig-zag vine.Widespread, adaptable, fragrant flowers

Cover trees

Homolanthus novo-guineensis, Bleeding Heart. Widespread, adaptable. Fragrant fruit.
Macaranga tanarius, Blush Macaranga. Adaptable fast growing.
Macaranga involucrata, Macaranga. Adaptable fast growing.
Polyscias elegans, Celerywood. Fast growing, attracts a variety of frugivorous birds.

Sources: DEH, TKMG, Kylie Freebody, Larry Crook.