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Informative descriptions and enlarged photos of Australian native rainforest trees including Booyongs and Australian Pine trees showing leaf characteristics, bark, flower and fruit samples to aid in the identification of native species. We hope to raise the awareness to the high conservation value of remaining old growth rainforests in Australia with these web pages. Species in following genera are listed in groups on our web pages: Australian Fig trees (Ficus spp.), Australian Eucalypts (Eucalyptus spp.), Grevilleas (Grevillea spp.) and Syzygium species (Lilly Pillies). Otherwise all native Australian tree species are listed in alphabetical order.
Bolwarra Eupomatia laurina
This small understorey tree attains a height of up to 10m and has a widespread distribution range along Australia's east coast . It's natural habitat are different types of rainforests (Photo 1). Bark is firm and rough with longitudinal ridges, colour is a dark brown (2). Fruit sets in late autumn on the NSW north coast and is fairly large at up to 30mm across, cup shaped with a distinctive rim and light green in colour (3). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are held on zigzag formed branches (4). Leaves are; up to 12 cm long with entire margins, very glossy on both surfaces, oblong to oblanceolate in shape, fairly soft and hairless. Apex is short acuminate and venation except centre vein is rather faint (5). Distribution: From Victoria to north QLD. (See Leaf Characteristics Page for explanations of 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
Brittlewood Claoxylon australe
The Brittlewood Claoxylon australe is a small attractive tree or large shrub (depending on conditions) reaching a maximum height of 8 to 10 meters and occurs naturally in a wide range of environments from exposed coastal positions to within subtropical rainforests (Picture 1). Bark (on mature specimen shown) is firm with a rough texture due to bands of small horizontal blisters and cream in colour, whereas bark on young trees is olive green in colour (2). Small white flowers with prominent stamens are held on racemes up to 15 cm in length (3). The rounded fruit measures up to 8 mm in diameter and features 3 lobes containing red coloured seeds (fruit will turn nearly black before opening) (4). Alternately arranged simple leaves are; mostly large at up to 16 cm in length with irregular toothed margins, varied in shape from elliptic to obovate, hairless, dark green and very glossy on top, paler beneath, rather thin with a soft texture. Special identification characteristics are the small glands (Picture5 inset) at the top of the petiole which a visible on every leaf. Apex shape is acute, base shape is cuneate to nearly rounded. Mid-vein and curved laterals are very evident and distinctly raised on lower leaf surface (5). Distribution: NSW south coast to Qld.
Broad-leaf Star Hair Astrotricha latifolia Other names: Broad-leaf Star-hair
The Broad-leaf Star Hair occurs as an understorey species on margins of rainforests where it is mostly an upright shrub less than 4m in height, whereas in dryer and more open sclerophyll forests it can reach nearly 10 m in height (Photo 1). Bark is olive green in colour with a firm and rough texture due to warty blisters (lenticels) covering the surface on older specimens (2). Over spring to early summer (southern locations) large spread-out panicles hold numerous minute greenish flower, which reach about 4 mm in diameter. Five stamens are topped by yellow anthers and in the centre the flower style is divided at the base, five pointed petals will re-curve with maturity. Ball-shaped hairy flower buds (centre left) are visible in the image (3). The small ovoid shaped fruit turns greenish yellow in colour and shows the remaining petals (sepals) and the split style at the flattened apex. It is quick to develop, so flower buds, open flowers and mature fruit can be found on the same panicle (4). Simple alternately arranged leaves are; varied in length form 8 to more than 20 cm, mostly oblong in shape with entire or slightly undulating margins, mid-green, rather dull and hairless on top, whitish grey beneath due to a dense cover of woolly hair (star hairs), rather soft and thin in texture. Leaf apex is attenuate, base shape is cordate. The straight petiole is up to 8 cm long and covered in woolly hair. Young growth and stems are also hairy. Venation is clearly visible on lower leaf surface with mid rib and laterals veins being strongly raised (5). Distribution: Southern NSW to Qld. See Flower Characteristics Page and Leaf Characteristics Page for information on terms used.
Broad-leaved Geebung Persoonia levis
This tall shrub or small tree is frequently found as an understorey species in dry tall open forests and heath lands in proximity to the coast. Under optimum conditions it can reach 6 to 8m in height with bright green foliage (Photo 1). Bark is very rough; densely warty somewhat scaly in texture and weathers to grey on the surface, but has a reddish brown under layer (2). The fruit is a fleshy drupe turning a yellowish green with maturity. It measures close to 20 mm in length and features the remaining flower style at the apex. The whitish, translucent flesh will become very sticky and congealed with exposure (3 & 4). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; up to 12 cm in length with entire margins, varied in shape from broadly oblanceolate to elliptical, hairless, firm and leathery in texture. Leaf apex varies from rounded to acute, base shape is cuneate. Venation is faint, but under closer inspection looping lateral veins are visible. Distribution: Vic, to NSW mid-north coast. See also Tall Geebung Persoonia media Page 10.
Broad-leaved Paperbark Melaleuca quinquenervia Other names: Five-veined Paperbark
This native tree species is very common in wetter coastal areas and is also known under the name of Five-veined Paperbark. The Broad-leaved Paperbark Malealuca quinquenervia can attain a height of 20m or more (Picture 1). Trunks often bend in the opposite way of the prevailing winds are covered in a thin papery bark which outer layers are pale grey whereby newly exposed bark is salmon coloured (2). Showy white flowers appear on top of the same spike holding last season's fruit which is a brown capsule up to 5 mm in diameter (3 & 4). Alternately arranged simple leaves are; up to 9 cm in length with entire margins, mostly elliptic in shape, firm and quite leathery in texture, hairless and emit a strong scent when crushed. Five longitudinal veins are clearly visible on the lower leaf surface (5). Distribution: NSW central coast to central QLD.
Brown Beech Pennantia cunninghamii
This medium to tall tree species is able to reach a height of 30m and occurs in subtropical and warm temperate rainforests, where it favours locations near watercourses (Photo 1). Older specimens develop fluted trunks (2). The bark is grey/brown in colour with a corky texture and covered in rounded blisters (3). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; between 8 to 16 cm long with undulating (wavy) margins, elliptic to ovate in shape, hairless, glossy and smooth in texture (4). Domatia are very visible as swellings on the upper and as indentations on the lower leaf surface, occurring mainly in lateral vein angles (5). Distribution: From the south coast of NSW to central Qld.
Brown Gardenia Randia fitzalanii [Atractocarpus fitzalanii] Other names: Yellow Mangosteen
The Brown Gardenia is a native shrub with a compact growing habit reaching a height of up to 6m and naturally occurs in tropical rainforests (Photo 1). Bark is beige to light brown in colour with a finely rough texture (2). Superbly scented flowers are white in colour, up to 3 cm in diameter and feature 5 overlapping petals (3). The large fruit is rounded in shape measuring up to 8 cm in diameter turning a yellowish green when mature and contains numerous small black seeds (4). Oppositely arranged simple leaves are; mostly elliptic in shape with entire margins, 20 cm or more in length, dark green and glossy on top, mid-green and glossy below, hairless and smooth with a firm texture. Petiole (leaf stalk) is up to 25 mm long. Leaf apex is rounded, base shape is cuneate. Mid vein and laterals are raised on both surfaces (5). Distribution: Tropical east coast of Qld. (A beautiful ornamental species for frost free areas.)
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Brown Tamarind Castanospora alphandii
This rainforest species grows to a height of 20m and is mostly found as an under storey tree (Photo 1). Bark texture is firm and slightly rough with small fissures, colour is cream to light grey, other colours are caused by moss and lichen (2). The uniform pale green underside of the foliage helps in identifying this species (3). Small white and yellow coloured flowers held on long panicles bloom over winter (4). Pinnate compound leaves with an alternate arrangement are made up of mostly 10 or 12 leaflets. Leaflets with entire margins are; up to 16 cm long, elliptic to oblong in shape, dark green and glossy on upper surface, pale green and very finely hairy on the underside. Leaflet apex shape is mostly acute, petiole and petiolules are a rusty brown colour. Mid vein is noticeable raised on lower leaf surface and a pale yellow colour (5). Distribution: NSW north coast to northern Qld. (See Leaf Characteristics Page for explanations of botanical terms used in descriptions.)
Brown Tuckeroo Cupaniopsis flagelliformis Other names: Rusty Tuckeroo
This small to medium sized tree with striking foliage occurs in subtropical rainforests (Photo 1). Older specimens develop a fluted trunk with a firm, smooth and dark brown coloured bark (2). Gorgeous small pink and yellow flowers are borne on panicles and bloom over spring (3). The hairy orange fruit (a capsule) contains up to three black seeds, which are partly covered in an orange aril (4). The pinnate compound leaf consists of up to 14 leaflets. Leaflets are; up to 18 cm long with toothed margins, hairy on their underside, mostly oblong in shape with a firm and slightly stiff texture (5). Distribution: Northern NSW to southern Qld.
Brush Apple Mischocarpus pyriformis Other names: Yellow Pear-fruit, Pear-fruited Tamarind
The Brush Apple or Yellow Pear-fruit can reach up to 20 meters in height with an upright trunk and a dense crown. Its natural habitat are different types of rainforests where it prefers wetter locations (Photo 1). The bark is firm and shades of gray in colour (often obscured by lichen) with older specimen featuring fine vertical ridges (2). The fruit is a roughly pear-shaped capsule, first yellow turning to a light orange when mature and measures 25 mm in length and up to 15 mm in diameter. The capsule splits in three sections revealing one or sometimes two seeds covered in a red aril (3 & 4). The large compound leaf consists of up to 9 separate leaflets (as shown) which are; up to 20 cm in length, lanceolate to more oblong or ovate in shape with entire margins, alternately arranged along the rachis, smooth, rather thick and strong. Leaf apex is short acuminate, base shape is cuneate and the strong petiolules can measure up to 20mm in length. The mid vein is sunken on upper leaflet surface and prominently raised on the lower with fine net veins being visible (5). Distribution: Mid-north coast NSW to northern QLD. (See Leaf Characteristics Page for explanations of terms used).
Brush Box Lophostemon confertus
This tree species grows up to 60m tall and occurs in a range of rainforests types, and is also found in wet and drier tall (Eucalypt dominated) forests. Brush Boxes at the size shown mostly occur within subtropical rainforest or on its margins. It is also grown in forest plantations producing a sought after hardwood timber (Photo 1). Bark on lower half to two thirds of trunk is brown, rough and stringy. Whereas the top half or the top third of the trunk and branches are covered in a smooth bark. Colour of smooth bark varies from grey to pink and salmon, depending on age (Photo 2). Stunning white flowers measure up to 3 cm in diameter and feature numerous white filaments topped by yellow anthers (3). The conical shaped fruit (a capsule) is around 10 mm in diameter and up to 15 mm long, it contains a large number of small brown seeds (4). Simple leaves arranged in a whorl of four or five leaves below the growing bud (opposite when maturing) are; elliptic to ovate in shape with entire margins, up to 15 cm long, firm and leathery to touch. Apex is acute ending in a fine point, base shape is cuneate. Mid vein is raised and lateral veins are more visible on lower leaf surface (5). Distribution: Along Australia's east coast, north from the NSW mid-north coast.
Brush Caper Berry Capparis arborea
The Brush Caper Berry is a small native tree reaching a height of up to 10m and is found within subtropical rainforests as an under storey species (Photo 1). Bark is firm, hard with fine fissures and rather rough in texture on the main trunk of this mature tree, which also features scattered spines. Colour is a light brown if not obscured by mosses and lichen in wet environments (2). Spines on older branches are the best developed on this specimen and reach up to 15mm in length, whereby spinose stipules on young growth are small but can be felt beneath the petiole joining the stem. Spines on immature trees can be longer and more prominent. Young stems are covered in fine rusty brown hair (3 & 4). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; up to 12 cm long with entire and slightly in-rolled margins, ovate to broad elliptic in shape, firm and smooth in texture, hairless, very glossy and dark green on top and paler underneath. Petiole is up to 12 mm in length and can be hairy on young leaves. Mid vein is often placed off centre and raised on lower leaf surface (5). Distribution: NSW mid-north coast to central Qld.
Brush Ironbark Bridelia exaltata Other names: Scrub Ironbark
Exceptional specimens of the Brush Ironbark Bridelia exaltata can be tall trees attaining a height of up to 40m within subtropical rainforests. The trunk can be up to 1.5m in diameter with buttress roots forming (Photos 1 & 2). Bark is brown in colour, deeply furrowed and hard in texture, which is a good identification feature (3). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; up to 14 cm in length with entire margins, ovate to oblong in shape, fairly thin, smooth, hairless, dark green, glossy on top and pale greyish green on their lower surface. Mid vein is raised and yellowish in colour, fine reticulate venation is visible on both surfaces (4 & 5). Distribution: In different types of rainforests from NSW mid-north coast to southern Qld.
Brush Kurrajong Commersonia fraseri Other names: Commersonia
The Brush Kurrajong Commersonia fraseri is a mostly single stemmed shrub or small tree reaching up to 8 m in height, it occurs naturally in and on margins of different types of rainforests and in adjacent sclerophyll forest (Photo 1). Bark is brown to more olive-green in colour with a firm texture and shows raised bumps called lenticels (2). White and sweetly scented flowers are held on compact panicles which often appear opposite a leaf node and measure less than 1 cm across. The five sepals are more prominent than the (thin and short-lasting) petals and remain after pollination to enclose the developing fruit (3). The fruit is a dry, brown and hairy capsule measuring up to 2 cm in diameter with 4 or 5 cells containing 1 or 2 small black seeds up to 2 mm in length (4). Simple with an alternate arrangement are; up to 15 cm in length (longer on young specimens), ovate to broad ovate in shape with irregular toothed margins or small lobes, dull and mid green on top, pale yellow or white hairy below with a felt-like texture. Apex is acute ending in a fine point, base shape is rounded to cordate. Venation is conspicuous with prominently raised midrib, lateral and net veins clearly visible (5). Distribution: Widespread from Victoria to southern Qld.
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Brush Pepperbush Tasmannia insipida Other names: Pepperbush, Scrub Pepperbush
The specimen shown, growing under very low light conditions in old growth subtropical rainforest, is single trunked and about 5m in height. Under better light conditions the Pepperbush is often a multi-stemmed shrub less than 3m high (Photo 1). Bark on mature specimens is a reddish brown with a firm and quite smooth texture showing very fine fissures (2). A salmon coloured stipule up to 2.5 cm long encloses up to 8 separate flower buds which turn red before opening into beautiful flowers with vibrant yellow anthers. Flowers measure up 10 mm across and are held on stalks (pedicels) which are up to 4 cm in length (3). The fruit is an oblong shaped berry turning from whitish green over pink to a dark purple with maturity, measuring up to 25 mm in length and contains a number of small hard seeds within the whitish fruit flesh (4). Simple leaves in a whorl arrangement of 4 to 5 leaves are; up to 15 cm long in adult (longer in immature) specimens, mostly oblanceolate in shape with entire margins, dark green and glossy on top, paler but glossy beneath, smooth and hairless. Leaf apex is short acuminate ending in a fine point, base shape is attenuate but ends in a rounded shape. Leaves on this specimen are (if faintly) pepper-like scented (5). Distribution: Within different types of rainforests from NSW south coast to southern Qld. See Flower Characteristics Page and Leaf Characteristics Page for information on terms used.
Brush Teak Toechima tenax Other names: Pitted-leaf Steelwood
Brush Teak or Pitted-leaf Steelwood can reach a height of 20m or more and is found within subtropical rainforests (Photo 1). Bark is dark greenish grey in colour, firm with some surface blisters present (2). Interesting small flowers are cream and yellow in colour and open in late winter or spring (3). The fruit is a pear-shaped capsule with 2 or 3 lobes (valves), each containing a shiny black seed (4). Pinnate compound leaves consist of 4 to 6 leaflets, which are; up to 6 cm long with entire wavy margins, mainly elliptic in shape, hairless, glossy on both sides, fairly thin but firm in texture. Mid vein is raised and laterals are visible on upper leaf surface. Domatia on this native tree species are very prominent as swellings along the mid vein on both leaflet surfaces and are very helpful in identification (5). Distribution: Northern NSW to central Qld. (See Leaf Characteristics Page for explanations of botanical terms used in descriptions.)
Brush Wedding Bush Ricinocarpos speciosus Other names: Long-haired Ricinocarpos
The Brush Wedding Bush or Long-leaved Ricinocarpos is a beautiful native shrub growing to 3m in height and occurs on margins of different rainforest types and in more open tall forests (Picture 1). Bark is brown to grey in colour and features fine longitudinal fissures. It is hard and slightly rough in texture (2). Gorgeous white flowers are up to 20 mm in diameter and bloom in late winter to early spring. Unisex male and female flowers appear on the same shrub (monoecious) (3). The fruit is a small and hairy capsule featuring mostly 3 lobes which each containing an oblong shaped and black coloured seed (4). Mature simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; mostly oblong in shape with entire margins, up to 8 cm long, glossy and hairless on top. Thick fine hair covers young branches, petioles and underside of leaves. Venation except for centre vein is obscure (5). Distribution: NSW mid-north coast to southern Qld.
Bull Kauri Pine Agathis microstachya Other names: Queensland Kauri Pine, Black Kauri
This towering rainforest species is found within upland tropical rainforests and can attain a height of up to 50m on a straight and column-like trunk (Photo 1). Bark is a greyish brown in colour with a scaly and flaky texture (2). Male cones are produced from axillary buds towards the end of young branchlets. They can measure up to 3 cm in length and reach full maturity over spring (3 & 4). Simple leaves with an opposite arrangement are; up to 9 cm in length with entire margins, elliptic to more lanceolate in shape, dark green on top, paler green beneath, hairless, very firm in texture. Apex shape is rounded to bluntly acute, base shape is cuneate. Fine parallel venation is visible (4 & 5). Distribution: Nearly exclusively on the Atherton tablelands in Northern Qld.
Bunya Pine Araucaria bidwillii
The Bunja Pine Araucaria bidwillii is a large native tree species growing to more than 40m in height with a characteristic rounded canopy shape and is naturally found in subtropical rainforests (Photo 1). Bark is dark brown and very rough in texture with horizontal grooves (2).The fruit is a large cone measuring up to 35 cm in length and contains numerous brown seeds covered in separate cone scales (3). Leaves with entire margins and an alternate arrangement (spiral) feature a sharp spiny tip. They are; up to 5 cm long, glossy, thick and rigid in texture. New growth is a vibrant light green compared to the dark green and glossy colour of adult foliage (Pictures 4 & 5). Distribution: Central and Northern Qld. Often seen planted as an ornamental tree outside its' natural range.
Burdekin Plum Pleiogynium timorense
This medium sized tree is found in subtropical and tropical rainforests closer to the coast, but also occurs in drier environments at higher altitudes. It is cultivated for its edible fruit and attractive appearance, and has been planted outside its natural distribution range (Photo 1). Bark on older trunks becomes rough, fissured and scaly in texture, whereas younger branches and stems have a smoother texture (2). The shiny, dark purple coloured fruit (a drupe) measure up to 4 cm in diameter and ripens from late summer into autumn. A plum-like fleshy layer surrounds the single, very hard, woody and characteristically shaped seed (3 & 4). A pinnate compound leaf consist of 7 to 11 leaflets, which are; up to 10 cm long, elliptic to more ovate in shape with entire margins, hairless to sparsely hairy, dark green, glossy on top, paler green beneath, smooth and strong in texture. Leaflet apex shape is rounded or broadly pointed, base shape is asymmetric. Domatia running along the centre vein are clearly visible on the lower leaflet surface (5). Distribution: From southern to northern Qld.
Bushy Tamarind Toechima pterocarpum Other names: Orange Tamarind
This densely foliated small tree or large shrub is an understorey species naturally occurring in tropical rainforests where it can reach a height of up to 5 - 6 m. Due to extensive clearing it now listed as an endangered species (1). Bark is dark olive grey colour with a firm and slightly rough texture (2). The orange colored fruit is a capsule showing three flattened lobes (wings) and measures up to 3 cm in length. It contains 3 shiny black seeds which are partly covered by a yellow aril at the top (3). Pinnate compound leaves feature up to 8 leaflets which are; elliptic in shape with broadly undulating (wavy) margins, up to 12 cm in length, hairless, dark green, glossy on top, firm and smooth in texture. Leaf apex is acute, ending in a fine point, base shape is cuneate. The petiolule (leaflet stalk) is about 1 cm in length and shows a swelling at the base (4). Reticulate leaf venation is very noticeable as mid rib, lateral and net veins are raised (5). Distribution: Rare in lowland tropical rainforests in northern QLD.