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We present quality images of native Australian trees and rainforest species found on Australia's East Coast, with an emphasis on tree species occurring in rainforests. Images showing leaf, bark and/or flower, fruit samples together with detailed descriptions assist in the identification of native tree species.
Species in following genera are listed in groups on our web pages: Ficus spp. (Australian Fig trees), Eucalyptus spp. (Australian Eucalypts), Grevillea spp. (Grevilleas) and Syzygium species (Lilly Pillies). Otherwise all native Australian tree species are listed in alphabetical order.
Antarctic Beech Nothofagus moorei Other names: Negrohead Beech
Fossilised parts of this ancient native tree species have been found in Antarctica and are up to 60 million years old. Its' natural habitat are cool temperate rainforests in mountainous areas where is can grow to a height of 40 m or more (Image 1). Bark has a rough and scaly texture whereby the weathered top layer is a greyish brown colour shedding in irregular sized plates to reveal a reddish brown new bark (2). The hard fruit is covered in rough prickles and measures up to 8 mm in length, it opens into 4 valves containing 3 tiny nuts enclosed in a papery aril, whereas the 2 outer ones are ridged and the center one is flattened (3). Simple leaves feature an alternate arrangement with new growth being a bright red in colour and showing obvious stipules at leaf joints (4). Leaves of mature specimens are; up to 6 cm in length (10 cm or more on saplings and coppice shoots), mostly ovate in shape with finely toothed margins, hairless, dark green and glossy on op, paler green and dull beneath, thick and stiff in texture. Leaf apex is acute, base shape is varied from cuneate to rounded. Venation is more visible on upper leaf surface with lateral veins being straight and prominent (5). Distribution: At higher altitudes from NSW central coast to southern QLD. (See Leaf Characteristics Page for explanations on botanical terms used in descriptions.)
How to recognise Australian tree families and genera.
A practical field guide to the identification of native species. More than 200 full colour photographs and detailed descriptions explaining leaf, bark, flower, fruit and other tree characteristics.
New Holland Publishers
Format: Paperback with PVC
Pages: 128 pp.
Size: 13 cm wide x 18 cm high
Australian Almond Terminalia muelleri Other names: Mueller's Damson
Under favourable conditions this medium sized tree can reach a height of about 20m in its natural habitat of monsoon and open forests close to the coastline. It is semi or fully deciduous at the end of spring with most leaves turning a reddish brown before falling, which is a helpful identification feature. The very upright, column like trunk supports far reaching and horizontally held branches (Image 1). On softer or steep sloping ground large buttress roots will form, which are covered in a hard, flaky and tesselated bark extending to the base of the trunk. Bark further up the trunk weathers to a light grey in colour with fissures showing a darker grey brown underlayer (2). The fleshy fruit (a drupe) is ovoid in shape and measures up to 20 mm in length. When fully mature the fruit is hairless, dark blue in colour with a smooth and shiny surface. It contains a single hard, cream to orange colored seed reaching 12 mm in length (3). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; obovate in shape with entire margins, up to 12 cm in length, hairless, dark green on top, paler green beneath, rather dull, strong and firm in texture. Leaf apex varies from fully rounded (obtuse) to mucronate (ending in a blunt or fine tip, base shape is cuneate to more attenuate. Two swellings (glands) are located along the center vein towards the base of the leaf blade (lamina), but are not present on all leaves. Venation is clearly visible on both surfaces showing up to 7 pairs of lateral veins. Distribution: Within proximity to the coast from central to northern Qld.
Australian Indigo Indigofera australis
This native shrub is very adaptable to different environments and therefore has a very wide distribution range from high rainfall areas along the coastline to arid inland regions. It can reach a height of 2.5 m under favourable conditions with most specimens featuring a single stem (Image1). Bark is brown in colour with a firm texture and often covered in small irregular blisters (2). As this species is a member of the Fabaceae family its flowers are pea-like in appearance and colour of petals varies from mauve to more pink or purple. They measure up to 15 mm in length and often more than 20 individual flowers are held on a single raceme emerging from an axillary joint (3). The fruit is a small pod up to 50 mm long, green in colour turning black with maturity before splitting a the sides to release flat and roughly square shaped seeds (4). Pinnate compound leaves consist of 7 to more than 19 leaflets which are; 2 to 4 cm in length, mostly elliptic in shape with entire margins, hairless, dark bluish green in colour, thin with a smooth texture. Leaflet apex is rounded (obtuse) with a fine tip (mucro), base shape is also obtuse. Except for mid rib venation is hardly visible (5). Distribution: Australia wide, In all types of forests. See Flower Identification and Leaf Characteristics Page for information on terms used.
Australian Teak Flindersia australis Other names: Crow's Ash
Australian Teak is a medium to tall tree species found along the east coast from the NSW north coast to central QLD (Image 1). Bark has got a smooth and firm texture and is a dark brown in colour (2). New growth can flush in pink and salmon tones changing into a vibrant bright green (3). Compound leaves normally feature between 7 and 9 leaflets. Leaflets are ovate to elliptic in shape with entire margins; are arranged irregularly, sometimes opposite other times alternate and are up to 14 cm in length (4 & 5).
Banana Bush Tabernaemontana pandacaqui Other names: Windmill Bush
The Banana or Windmill Bush Tabernaemontana pandacaqui is a native shrub growing to a height of 2 to 3m, multi stemmed and with a straggling growth habit it is found within subtropical and warm temperate rainforests (Image 1). Bark on older stems is a light brown in colour with a finely rough texture (2). Stems, twigs and petioles exude a milky sap when broken which is a good identification characteristic (3). Charming flowers one or 2 per stalk feature petals which are fused at the base forming a yellowish tube and split into 5 separate white petals at the top (4). Simple oppositely arranged leaves are; up to 12 cm long with entire margins which are slightly incurved and undulated, mostly oblanceolate in shape, hairless, mid green and satin glossy on top, paler and rather dull beneath with a soft and smooth texture. Leaf apex is short acuminate, base is attenuate. Fine lateral veins are visible and raised on upper surface, mid vein is raised on lower surface to only half the length of the leaf (5). Distribution: NSW mid-north coast to southern QLD.
Beach Bird's-Eye Alectryon coriaceus Other names: Beach Tamarind, Beach Alectryon
This native species is a shrub found in more exposed coastal positions and a small tree up to 12m in height within sheltered littoral rainforests (Image 1). Bark is dark green to nearly black in colour with a smooth and firm texture (2). The fruit is; 2 to 5 lobed (mostly 3), up to 12 mm across, finely hairy and a yellowish green in colour. Each lobe contains a shiny and hard black seed which is covered in a red aril (3 & 4). Compound leaves with an alternate arrangement consist of 2 rarely 3 or 4 leaflets which are; up to 14 cm in length, broad obovate to broad elliptic in shape with entire margins, hairless, smooth and slightly leathery in texture. Young leaflets are quite glossy turning dull with age and the lower leaflet surface is a greyish green. Leaflet apex is rounded or notched often with a tiny callous tip (mucronate), base shape is mostly cuneate. Venation is very noticeable with mid vein and laterals being raised on both sides (5). Distribution: Close to the beach from NSW mid-north coast to southern QLD.
Beach Casuarina Casuarina equisetifolia Other names: Beach Sheoak, Horsetail Sheoak
The Beach Casuarina or Beach Sheoak can reach a height of more than 20m, but is often smaller with a crooked and windblown trunk when occurring on more exposed sites close to the beach (Image 1). Bark is grey brown in colour with a hard and fissured texture on mature specimens; younger trees are more grey in colour with a smoother texture (Images 2). Attractive female flowers a pinkish red in colour bloom in the months of August and September (3). The woody and spiky cones (held on stiff stalks) are up to 12mm long, the image shows cones still maturing (4). Branchlets with a weeping habit are fine, needle-like and reach 30 cm or more in length. Pointed teeth-like leaves are minute at less than 1 mm in length and arranged in a whorl of 7 or 8 at internodes. A magnifying glass may be needed to observe them, but they are a reliable identification characteristic (5). Distribution: Coastal areas of NSW, QLD and NT. Note: See also River She-oak Casuarina cunninghamiana Page 9 and Forest Oak Allocasuarina torulosa Page 6.
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Bird Lime Tree Pisonia umbellifera
The Bird Lime Tree Pisonia umbellifera is an unusual small tree (less than 10 m in height) being the only species of its family in Australia and occurs in coastal rainforests. Mature specimens feature a sturdy trunk more than 20 cm in diameter and a low compact crown (Picture 1). Bark is hard , firm and a light grey/brown in colour with small vertical ridges and furrows on older specimens (2). Flowers are held on large panicles, measure up to 10 mm in length and 8 mm in diameter. The flower is a perianth (no petals), where sepals take the appearance of petals and form a cone-shaped tube (calyx tube) before splitting at the top (lobed) and curving outwards. Colour graduates from bright green at the base to off-white at the top. Anthers a pure white at first changing to a reddish brown colour (Picture 3 and inset). The fruit is a small nut enclosed by the remains of the calyx tube which is covered in a very sticky substance and measures up to 5 cm in length (4). Simple leaves show a varied arrangement changing from a cluster (pseudo-whorl) to an alternate or sometimes opposite formation and are; large at 25 cm (larger on saplings) with entire margins, mostly elliptic in shape, hairless, glossy on both surfaces, paler green beneath with a smooth and polished texture. Leaf apex is acute ending in rounded point, base shape is cuneate. The strong petiole is up to 5 cm in length and turns purple on mature leaves (5). Distribution: From NSW south coast to north QLD, where it can reach 20 m in height. See Flower Identification and Leaf Characteristics Page for information on terms used.
Black Apple Pouteria australis
The Black Apple Pouteria australis is found in different types of rainforests, whereby largest specimens occur on fertile soils within subtropical rainforests, here it can reach up to 30 m in height (Image 1). The beautiful fluted trunk is prominent feature on this mature specimen shown. Bark is reddish brown in colour with a finely rough texture (2). Pale green flowers are held on separate stalks which are up to 3 cm in length (between 2 to 4 per axillary bud). Flowers are cylindrical in shape, measure 1 cm when fully opened and bloom in spring (3). On the mid-north coast of NSW fruit matures in summer and can then be found lying on the forest floor. The fleshy fruit is more plum than apple shaped, up to 5 cm across and 8 cm long. Seeds are shiny dark brown and between 3 to 5 cm in length (4). Simple leaves are; oblanceolate to narrow obovate in shape, up to 15 cm long with entire margins, hairless, dark green and very glossy on top, paler but also shiny beneath, rather thick with a firm and smooth texture. Petiole is grooved on top, between 1 to 2 cm in length and may exude a little white sap when broken, more so on new growth. These are good identification features as the leaf venation except for mid vein is rather faint (5). Distribution: from the NSW central coast to central QLD.
Black Bean Tree Castanospermum australe
The Black Bean Castanospermum australe is a large tree in its natural habitat along watercourses from the mid-north coast NSW to central QLD. Grown in forest plantations for its valuable timber and often seen as an ornamental street tree (Images 1 & 2). Bark dark brown to grey on mature trees; greenish gray on juveniles, both with vertical markings (3). Very attractive red and yellow flowers bloom in spring (4.) Large and alternately arranged compound leaves consist of 15 to 19 large leaflets which are; up to 18 cm long, lanceolate to oblong in shape and hairless with a firm and smooth texture. Fruit develops in to a very large pod measuring 30 cm or more in length, containing 2 to 6 large rounded seeds (5).
Black Booyong Argyrodendron actinophyllum Other names: Blush Tulip Oak
This giant subtropical rainforest tree with large buttress roots on older specimens can reach heights of more than 50 m (Image 1). Bark is a dark reddish brown in colour and has a more scaly texture with shallow fissures in contrast to Argyrodendron trifoliolatum's firmer and deeper fissured bark (2). The distinct foliage is a feature in identification of this species (3) .Large palmate compound leaves with an alternate arrangement feature 7 leaflets (sometimes 9) which are; up to 20 cm in length, oblanceloate to obovate in shape with entire margins, dark green and semi glossy on top, mid-green below, hairless and strong in texture. Apex is acute, leaflet base shape is attenuate. The prominent petiole is up to 15 cm in length (Photos 4 & 5). Distribution: NSW central coast to QLD.
Black Olive Berry Elaeocarpus holopetalus Other names: Black Oliveberry, Mountain Quandong
Temperate rainforests at higher altitudes receiving frosts and snow are the prefered habitat of this medium sized tree able to reach 25m in height (Image 1). Bark is grey brown, firm and smooth on branches but develops a rougher wrinkled texture at the base of trunks (Image 2). Drooping bell-shaped flowers, typical for the genus, feature 5 white petals which aren't fringed at the apex. Flowering period is over summer (Image 3). The fleshy fruit (a drupe) turns black with full maturity and reaches up to 10 mm in length (Image 4). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; up to 8 cm in length, oblong to more oblanceolate in shape with sharply toothed margins, dark green above, paler yellowish green beneath with a dense cover of felt-like hair, strong and stiff in texture (Images 4 & 5). Distribution: Vic, & NSW
Black Plum Diospyros australis Other names: Yellow Persimmon
The Black Plum or Yellow Persimmon Diospyros australis is a small to medium sized native tree species found within and on margins of subtropical rainforests and adjacent wet sclerophyll forests (Image 1). Bark on mature specimens is light grey to beige-brown in colour, but bark on new growth can be a rusty brown with fine horizontal ridges and a firm texture. Immature specimens feature a dark grey coloured bark with a smooth texture (2). Yellowish green flowers appear singely from axillary buds and measure up to 8 mm in length (3). The fruit is a shiny black berry; up to 20 mm in length with dark plum like fruit flesh containing a single brown seed which is oblong in shape (4). Leaf arrangement is alternate with regular spacings between leaves and a zigzag shape of young branches. Simple leaves are; up to 8 cm long, elliptic to lanceolate in shape with a firm texture, dark green and glossy on upper surface, dull yellowish green and lightly hairy beneath (5). Distribution: NSW south coast to QLD.
Black Walnut Endiandra globosa Other names: Ball-fruited Walnut
Attractive tree species with a glossy foliage found in subtropical rainforests growing to a height of 20m (Image 1). Bark is firm and fairly smooth; colour is a light grey with a pink hue (2). Large sized fruit can be up to 6 cm in diameter and 8 cm long dark purple to black in colour, yellow flesh covers a beautifully marked, smooth and hard cased seed (3). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; up to 20 cm long with entire margins, ovate to wide elliptic in shape, dark green and glossy, hairless and fairly thin. Leaf apex is short acuminate (4). Lower surface is a lighter green and also very glossy, center vein and petiole which is up to 12 mm long are often coloured a pale yellow (5). Distribution: Northern NSW to southern QLD. (See Leaf Characteristics for explanations of terms used.)
Black Wattle Callicoma serratifolia Other names : Callicoma
Callicoma serratifolia is a small tree species reaching a height of up to 15 m originating in open tall forests, on margins of temperate and subtropical rainforests (Image 1). The slender trunk features a dark grey to nearly black coloured bark, which has a rough and flaky texture (2). In early spring masses of white coloured flowers up to 2 cm in diameter appear giving the tree or tall shrub its characteristic appearance. Flowers with stamens forming the globular shape feature no petals and a stalk (pedicel) up to 3 cm in length (3 & 4). Simple leaves with an opposite arrangement are; mainly elliptic in shape with regularly toothed margins, up to 12 cm in length, mid-green and hairless on top with a pale whitish to grey green underside due to dense whitish hair, firm and rather stiff in texture. Apex is acute or short acuminate, base shape is cuneate. Petiole is on average 5 mm in length. Mid vein and strongly raised lateral veins on the lower leaf surface are covered in fine rusty brown hair, which also covers young stems (Images 4 & 5). Distribution: Widespread from NSW south coast to central QLD. See Flower Characteristics Page for more information.
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Blackwood Acacia melanoxylon Other names: Sally Wattle, Hickory and Mudgerabah
This native tree species is known under an array of common names due to its wide distribution range and as it grows in different habitats from mountainous areas to within subtropical rainforests. It can grow as a woody shrub under 5m to up to 30m+ tall tree in favourable conditions (Image 1). Bark on mature specimens is a grey to brown colour, firm, hard and furrowed (2). Coiled up fruit pods can be found on the forest floor at most times of the year and are helpful when identifying this species. Pods (when uncoiled) are up to 12cm long and flattened containing black shiny seeds (3 & 4). Simple leaves (Phyllodes) on mature specimens with an alternate arrangement are; up to 15 cm in length with entire margins, are narrow oblanceolate to elliptic in shape, hairless and fairly thin but firm. Venation is longitudinal. Globular shaped flowers are cream to pale yellow coloured and bloom in spring (4 & 5). Distribution: From Tasmania to northern QLD.
Bleeding Heart Tree Homalanthus populifolius Other names: Native Poplar, Queensland Poplar
This shrub or small native tree species reaches a height of up to 6m (sometimes taller), preferring moist locations in different types of rainforests and is often found as regrowth along watercourses (Image 1). Bark on mature specimen is a grey brown or olive brown in colour with a firm and rather smooth texture, white patches are caused by lichen (2). Small yellowish green flowers are held on long racemes more than 20 cm in length which appear at the very end of young branches (terminal) and bloom over spring (3). The fruit is a bluish green capsule divided into 2 sections (lobes or valves) each containing a seed covered in a yellowish, fleshy aril. It measures less than 1 cm in diameter (4). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; broadly ovate in shape with entire margins, up to 15 cm long and 10 cm wide, dark green and glossy on top, paler grey-green beneath, hairless with a thin and soft texture. Glands at the top of the red petiole which measures up 10 cm in length and exudes a milky sap are good identification features. Leaf apex is acute, base shape is rounded. Venation is clearly visible on both leaf surfaces (Images 4 & 5). Distribution: Widespread in northern VIC, NSW and QLD.
Blue Mint Bush Prostanthera caerulea Other names: Lilac Mint Bush
There are numerous different Mint Bushes (Prostanthera sp.) native to Australia, with many of them grown in cultivation for their beautiful flowers. The majority of species are wooden shrubs less than 4m in height and the leaves of all of them are mint scented when crushed. The Blue or Lilac Mint bush occurs as an understorey plant in tall Eucalyptus forests and can reach up to 3m in height (1). Bark on older stems is grey in colour, firm and finely rough in texture (2). Flowers can vary in colour from blue to mauve or more lilac and under closer inspection show tiny white dots. They measure about 1 cm across and flower over spring (3). Young stems and emerging leaves are covered in fine, short hair. Simple mature leaves have an opposite arrangement and are; up to 6 cm in length with toothed margins, varied from lanceolate to elliptic or narrow ovate in shape, mostly hairless, soft in texture and compared to other Prostanthera sp. only mild scented when crushed. Leaf apex is acute, base shape is cuneate. Petiole is up to 1 cm long. Venation is faint with lateral veins being more visible on lower leaf surface (4 & 5). Distribution: NSW
Blue Quandong Elaeocarpus grandis Other names: Silver Quandong, Blue Fig
Blue Quandong is a large tree species found in subtropical rainforest (STRf) attaining more than 40 m in height. The image (1) is showing a street tree at only 20 m in height. Large buttress roots are a feature on mature trees in their natural habitat (Image 2). Bark is greyish in colour with a firm texture and horizontal ridges (3). The blue fruit is up to 25mm in diameter containing a deeply grooved and very hard stone (4). Alternately arranged simple leaves are; oblong in shape with finely toothed margins, up to 16 cm long, hairless, glossy on both surfaces, paler green below with a firm texture. Apex is acute ending in a blunt point or more rounded, base shape is attenuate. Older leaves will often turn red before falling. Strong petiole can measure up to 25 mm in length. Several domatia along the center vein are very evident, laterals are raised on lower leaf surface (5). Distribution: Mid-north coast of NSW to central QLD.
Blueberry Ash Elaeocarpus reticulatus
Widespread and eye-catching small to medium sized native tree species reaching a height of 20m (depending on conditions) found in a variety of forest types along Australia's east coast (Image 1). Bark is a dark grey colour with a firm and smooth texture (2). Masses of small white and scented flowers held in panicles bloom in early spring within warmer regions and late spring/summer in cooler environments (3). Beautiful small blue fruit resemble a blueberry in appearance, but contain a hard grooved seed which will mature in autumn. Leaf arrangement is alternate (4). Simple leaves are; elliptic to obovate in shape, up to 12 cm in length with regularly toothed margins, hairless with a firm texture. Apex is acute or short acuminate, base shape is attenuate. The often red coloured petiole is up to 10 mm in length. Fine reticulate venation is visible and domatia as small bristles are present. Attractive young growth is often a salmon colour (5). Distribution: Common in Victoria, NSW and southern QLD.
See Flower Characteristics Page and Leaf Characteristics Page for information on terms used.