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Dedicated photography of 312 native Australian trees and shrubs found on Australia's East Coast, with an emphasis on tree species occurring in rainforests. Images showing leaf, bark, flower and/or 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: Australian Fig trees (Ficus spp.) Page 5; Eucalypts (Eucalyptus spp.) Page 4; Grevilleas (Grevillea spp.) Page 6; Lilly Pillies, Satinashes (Syzygium spp.) Page 10. Otherwise all native Australian tree species are listed by common name in alphabetical order. This free resource is revised and extended on a regular basis. See the Flower Identification and Leaf Characteristics Pages for information on botanical definitions and concepts used in descriptions.
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. Nowadays 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, where the weathered top layer is a greyish brown colour, and sheds in irregular sized plates to reveal a reddish brown fresh bark (2). The hard fruit is covered in rough prickles, up to 8 mm long and splits into 4 valves containing 3 tiny nuts. They are enclosed in a papery aril (outer layer), the 2 outer nuts are ridged and the centre one is flattened in shape (3). Simple leaves feature an alternate arrangement with new growth being a bright red colour and showing obvious stipules at leaf joints (4). Leaves of mature specimens are; up to 6 cm long (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 tessellated bark extending to the base of the trunk. Bark further up the trunk weathers to a light grey colour with fissures showing a darker grey brown under-layer (2). The fleshy fruit (a drupe) is ovoid in shape and measures up to 20 mm long. 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 coloured seed up to 12 mm long (3). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; up to 12 cm long, obovate in shape with entire margins, 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 centre 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 & NT.
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). Flowers, characteristic for the FABACEAE Subfamily FABOIDEAE, are up to 15 mm long with the standard, wings and keel varying from mauve to more pink or purple in colour. 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 then 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 long, 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. See Flower Identification and Leaf Characteristics Page for information on botanical terms used.
Australian Teak Flindersia australis Other names: Crow's Ash
The Australian Teak is a medium to tall tree species found along the east coast. It reaches a height of 40m growing on nutrient rich soils within subtropical rainforests (Image 1). Bark has a smooth firm texture and is a dark brown in colour (2). New growth can flush in pink and salmon tones before changing into a vibrant bright green (3). Pinnate compound leaves feature between 5 and 13 leaflets. Leaflets are; up to 14 cm long, ovate to elliptic in shape with entire margins, hairless, dark green, glossy on top, paler beneath, firm, smooth and scented when crushed. Leaflet apex is acute; base shape is cuneate and sometimes asymmetric (4 & 5). Distribution: From the NSW north coast to central Qld.
Banana Bush Tabernaemontana pandacaqui Other names: Windmill Bush
The Banana or Windmill Bush is a native shrub up to 3m tall. It is found as an understorey species on margins and within subtropical and warm temperate rainforests (Image 1). Bark on older stems is a light brown in colour with a finely rough texture (2). Charming flowers feature petals which are fused at the base forming a yellowish tube and split into 5 separate white lobes at the top (3). The shape of the poisonous fruit (a follicle) relates to the common naming of this species. It contains a number of seeds covered in a reddish pulp (4). Stems, twigs and petioles exude a milky sap when broken which is a good identification feature. Simple oppositely arranged leaves are; up to 12 cm long, mostly oblanceolate with slightly incurved and undulating margins, hairless, mid green, satin glossy on top, paler and rather dull beneath, soft and smooth in 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 lamina (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 high 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 partly covered in a red aril (3 & 4). Compound leaves consist of 2, rarely 3 or 4 leaflets, which are; up to 14 cm long, 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 surfaces (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 growing in exposed locations 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 are pinkish red in colour and bloom in late winter into spring (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, less than 1 mm long 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 Other names: Miar, Sticky Bean
This interesting tree is the only species of its family in Australia and occurs in lowland subtropical and tropical rainforests. In cooler climates it reaches a height of less than 10m, whereas in tropical rainforests this species can be more than 20m tall. Mature specimens feature a sturdy trunk more than 50 cm in diameter and a compact crown (Picture 1). Bark is hard, firm and a light grey/brown in colour with vertical ridges and furrows on older specimens (2). Flowers measuring up to 10 mm long and 8 mm in diameter are borne on large panicles. The flower is referred to as a perianth (no petals), here the calyx forms a cone-shaped tube before separating at the top and curving outwards, with calyx lobes (sepals) taking on the appearance of petals. Colour graduates from bright green at the base to off-white at the top. Anthers are pure white at first changing to a reddish brown with age (Picture 3 and inset). The fruit is a small nut enclosed by the remaining calyx tube, which is covered in a very sticky substance and up to 5 cm long (4). Simple leaves show a varied arrangement changing from a cluster (pseudo-whorl) to an alternate or sometimes opposite formation. They are; up to 25 cm long (larger on saplings), mostly broad elliptic in shape with entire margins, hairless, glossy on both surfaces, paler green beneath, thick, smooth and polished in texture. Leaf apex is acute ending in a rounded point; base shape is cuneate. The strong petiole is up to 5 cm long and turns purple on mature leaves (5). Distribution: From NSW south coast to north Qld. See Flower Identification and Leaf Characteristics Page for information on terms used.
Black Apple Pouteria australis
The largest specimens of Pouteria australis occur on fertile soils within subtropical rainforests, where it can be up to 30m tall. In dryer rainforests it is a smaller tree less than 20m high (Image 1). The beautiful fluted trunk is a prominent feature on this mature specimen shown. Bark is a reddish brown colour with a finely rough texture (2). Pale green flowers are held on individual stalks up to 3 cm long (between 2 to 4 per axillary bud). Flowers are cylindrical in shape, measure about 1 cm across 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 (a berry) is more plum than apple shaped, up to 5 cm across and 8 cm long. Almond shaped seeds are shiny dark brown and between 3 to 5 cm long (4). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; up to 15 cm long, oblanceolate to narrow obovate in shape 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 (leaf stalk) is grooved on top, between 1 to 2 cm long, and may exude a little white sap when broken (more likely 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 is a tall tree in its natural habitat along watercourses within subtropical and tropical rainforests. It is grown in forest plantations for its valuable timber and often seen as an ornamental street tree (Images 1 & 2). Bark is dark brown to grey on mature trees; greenish grey on juveniles, both showing vertical markings (3). Very attractive red and yellow flowers are up to 4 cm long and bloom over spring (4.) Pinnate compound leaves consist of 15 to 19 large leaflets, which are; up to 18 cm long, lanceolate to oblong in shape with entire margins, hairless with a firm and smooth texture. The fruit is a very large pod more than 30 cm long, which contains 2 to 6 large rounded seeds (5). Distribution: From the mid-north coast of NSW to north Qld.
Black Booyong Argyrodendron actinophyllum Other names: Blush Tulip Oak
This giant subtropical rainforest tree can reach heights of more than 50m. Older specimens develop extensive buttress roots and a column like trunk up to 2m in diameter (Image 1). Bark is a dark reddish brown colour and has a scaly texture with shallow fissures. Its close relative, the White Booyong (A. trifoliolatum) has 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 long, 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 (leaf stalk) is rigid and up to 15 cm long (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 is up to 10 mm long (Image 4). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; up to 8 cm long, 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 is a small to medium sized native tree species found within and on margins of different rainforests types (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). Female flowers emerge solitary from leaf axils (axillary buds), are yellowish green and up to 8 mm long (3). The fruit is a shiny black berry; up to 20 mm long with dark plum like fruit flesh surrounding a single brown oblong shaped seed (4). An alternate leaf arrangement with regular spacing between leaves and a zigzag shape of young branches are typical traits. Simple leaves are; up to 8 cm long, elliptic to lanceolate in shape with entire margins, dark green and glossy on upper surface, dull yellowish green and lightly hairy beneath and firm in texture (5). Distribution: NSW south coast to north Qld.
Black Tea-Tree Melaleuca bracteata Other names: Mock Olive, River Tea Tree
This species with a very wide distribution range across Australia has adapted to different habitats, ranging from dryer inland regions to margins of rainforests. Best development with trees reaching more than 15m in height occurs along stream banks and in other damp locations where specimens compete for light in a forest situation. It is a popular tall ornamental shrub with a number of cultivars in existence (Image 1). Bark is brown in colour with a hard rough and deeply fissured or more furrowed texture (2). The tiny hard (woody) fruit is a capsule splitting at the apex to release very fine light brown coloured seed. Capsules, forming tight clusters around stems, are sessile (attached without a stalk), up to 3mm long and feature 5 persistent pointed calyx lobes at the top (3). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; up to 2.5 cm long, lanceolate (lance-shaped) with entire margins, hairless (when mature), firm in texture and scented when crushed. Leaf apex ends in a sharp tip; base is rounded and attached to the stem without a petiole (leaf stalk). Longitudinal venation is visible on both surfaces. Distribution: Northern NSW, Qld, NT, SA & WA. Note: This species is similar in appearance to a Bottlebrush (Callistemon species), but differs in that veins on the lamina run parallel, whereas Callistemon species are more likely to have a pinnate vein arrangement.
Black Walnut Endiandra globosa Other names: Ball-fruited Walnut
This attractive tree with glossy foliage grows to a height of 20m and has a restricted distribution range within subtropical rainforests (Image 1). Bark is firm and fairly smooth; colour is a light grey with a pink hue (2). The large sized fruit (a drupe) can be up to 6 cm in diameter, up to 8 cm long and is dark purple to nearly black in colour when fully ripe. Yellow flesh covers a beautifully marked, smooth and hard seed (3). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; up to 20 cm long, ovate to wide elliptic in shape with entire margins, hairless, dark green and glossy on top, lighter green and also very glossy beneath, smooth and fairly thin in texture. Leaf apex is short acuminate (4). Centre vein and petiole 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
Despite its common name this species is not related to the Wattle Trees (Acacia sp.) It is a small to medium tree up to 25m tall and a common occurrence in open tall forests, and on margins of temperate and subtropical rainforests (Image 1). The trunk features a dark grey to nearly black coloured bark, which has a rough and flaky texture (2). Appearing In early spring masses of white to cream coloured flowers up to 2 cm in diameter give the tree a distinctive appearance. Flowers with stamens forming the globular shape feature no petals and a stalk (pedicel) up to 3 cm long (3 & 4). Simple leaves with an opposite arrangement are; up to 12 cm long, mainly elliptic in shape with regularly toothed margins, mid-green and hairless on top, pale whitish to grey green beneath due to dense whitish hair, firm and rather stiff in texture. Apex is acute or short acuminate, base shape is cuneate. Petiole (leaf stalk) is on average 5 mm long. 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. It grows in different habitats from mountainous areas to within lowland subtropical rainforests. It can be a woody shrub under 5m or under favourable conditions a tall tree up to 30m high in Tasmania (Image 1). Bark on mature specimens is a grey to brown colour, firm, hard and furrowed in texture (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. The flattened pods (when uncoiled) are up to 12cm long and contain a number of shiny black seeds (3 & 4). Simple leaves (phyllodes) with an alternate arrangement are; up to 15 cm long, narrow oblanceolate to elliptic in shape with entire margins, 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: Tas, Vic, NSW to northern Qld.
Bleeding Heart Tree Homalanthus populifolius Other names: Native Poplar, Queensland Poplar
This often encountered shrub or small tree species reaches a height of 6m (sometimes taller). It preferes moist locations in different types of rainforests and is often found as regrowth along watercourses (Image 1). Bark on mature specimen is 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 racemes more than 20 cm long, 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 less than 1 cm in diameter, which is covered in a yellowish fleshy aril (4). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; up to 15 cm long and 10 cm wide, broadly ovate in shape with entire margins, dark green and glossy on top, paler grey-green beneath, hairless with a thin and soft texture. Glands (inset 5) at the top of the red petiole, which is up 10 cm long and exudes a milky sap when broken 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 spp.) native to Australia, with many of them grown in cultivation for their beautiful flowers. The majority of species are wooden shrubs less than 4m tall and the leaves of all of them are mint scented when crushed. The Blue or Lilac Mint Bush (shown) occurs as an understorey plant in tall Eucalyptus forests and can reach a height of 3m (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 long, varied from lanceolate to elliptic or narrow ovate in shape with toothed margins, mostly hairless, soft in texture and compared to other Prostanthera spp. only mild scented when crushed. Leaf apex is acute, base shape is cuneate. Petiole (leaf stalk) 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
The Blue Quandong is a tall tree species attaining more than 40 m in height and often forms the highest canopy in subtropical rainforests. The image (1) is showing a street tree about 20m high. Large buttress roots are a common feature on mature trees in their natural habitat (Image 2). Bark is greyish in colour with a firm texture and horizontal ridges (3). The vivid blue fruit (a drupe) is up to 25mm in diameter and contains a deeply grooved and very hard seed, characteristic for the genus (4). Alternately arranged simple leaves are; up to 16 cm long, oblong in shape with finely toothed margins, hairless, glossy on both surfaces, paler green below and firm in texture. Apex is acute or more rounded; base shape is attenuate. Older leaves will often turn red before falling. Strong petiole can be up to 25 mm long. Several domatia along the centre vein are very evident, laterals are raised on lower leaf surface (5). Distribution: Mid-north coast of NSW to north Qld & NT.
Blueberry Ash Elaeocarpus reticulatus
This widespread and eye-catching small to medium sized tree species reaches a height of 20m (depending on conditions). It is 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 are arranged on panicles and bloom in early spring within warmer regions and late spring/summer in cooler environments (3). The beautiful small blue fruit (a drupe) resembles a blueberry in appearance and size, but beneath a thin layer of fruit flesh it contains a single very hard and deeply grooved seed. Fruit matures in autumn (4). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; up to 12 long, elliptic to obovate in shape with regularly toothed margins, hairless, strong and firm in texture. Apex is acute or short acuminate; base shape is attenuate. The often red coloured petiole (leaf stalk) is up to 10 mm long. Fine reticulate venation is visible and domatia as small bristles are present on lower surface. 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.