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Identification of Australian native Grevilleas and rainforest tree species using photos (with enlarged views) and text descriptions. Grevillea species pictures show the full tree or shrub, bark, flower, fruit and leaf samples. Species in the 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. This tree identification resource is constantly extended, revised and updated.
Foambark Tree Jagera pseudorhus Other names: Pink Foambark
A dense and rounded canopy is characteristic for this small tree species, which is found in different types of rainforests and regrowth areas (Photo 1). Bark is a light grey colour with a hard and firm texture (2). A small yellow and pink flower develops into a hairy capsule up to 2 cm across, turning from a bright pink to brown in colour (3). Pinnate or bipinnate compound leaves consist of up to 20 leaflets, which are; up to 8 cm long, lanceolate to more elliptic in shape with toothed margins, soft and finely hairy on both surfaces. Smaller branches, petiole (leaf stalk) and petiolules (leaflet stalk) are also covered in fine brown hair (4 & 5). Distribution: From mid-north coast of NSW to central Qld. (See Leaf Characteristics) for more information on definitions used.
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
Forest Maple Cryptocarya rigida Other names: Rose Maple
This beautiful small understorey tree species is found on margins of subtropical rainforests or in adjacent mixed wet forests (Photo 1). Bark is a light grey in colour and features softer corky warts and some fissures but is otherwise quite firm in texture. Bark on saplings is smooth and dark grey to nearly black in colour (2). The evenly white and waxy covering on the lower leaf surface and the neatly arranged foliage are good identification characteristics, as are the finely brown hairy growth buds (3). The fruit (a drupe) is; oval shaped with a an obvious narrowed base, up to 25 mm long, shiny dark blue to black in colour when fully ripe in mid to late summer. It contains a beautiful pink hard seed with longitudinal markings (4). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; elliptic to obovate in shape with entire margins, between 5 to 14 cm long, dark green, hairless and semi glossy on top, whitish grey, waxy and finely hairy beneath, rather firm, smooth in texture and emit a fruity smell when crushed. Leaf apex is acute ending in a fine point, base shape is varied from rounded to more cuneate. Mid and lateral veins are raised on lower leaf surface (5) . Distribution: From NSW central coast to southern Qld.
Forest Oak Allocasuarina torulosa Other names: Mountain Forest Oak, Rose Sheoak
This native tree is found in tall forests adjacent to different rainforest types. It is often an understorey species beneath tall Eucalypts and under favourable conditions can reach up to 30 m in height ( Photos 1 & 2). Bark is brown in colour, rough with deep fissures and a hard texture, becoming softer after prolonged rain (3). Woody cones produced by female trees are up to 3 cm long and contain numerous small brown winged seeds (4) . Branchlet with male flowers (5). Distribution: NSW south coast to northern Qld.
Furry Nightshade Solanum hapalum
This small shrub rarely attains more than 1m in height and is found in a range of habitats, ranging from different rainforest types to drier open tall Eucalypt forests (shown). It has an upright habit and is often found in small groups (1). Bark on older specimens is slightly rough, sometimes scaly in texture and an olive green to more brown in colour (2). Beautiful flowers reach on average 15 mm in diameter and show 5 fused petals being a rather uniform mauve to more purple in colour. Flowering takes place over spring (3). The fruit turns bright red in colour when fully mature and is globular in shape. It measures less than 1 cm across with the hairy sepals of the remaining flower calyx (base) partly covering the fleshy berry (4). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; ovate in shape with entire margins, up to 8 cm long, green with a grey hue on top, grey to yellowish green beneath, densely covered in hair on both surfaces and softly furry in texture. Leaf apex is acute, base shape varies from rounded to cordate and is often asymmetric. The petiole (leaf stalk) is very hairy and reaches up to 3 cm in length. Hairy veins are raised and more obvious on lower leaf surface (5). Distribution: From NSW south coast to southern Qld.
Giant Stinging Tree Dendrocnide excelsa
This very tall rainforest tree species has a fast and upright growing habit and occurs in subtropical rainforests (Photo1). Bark is fairly soft to the touch and coloured grey to brown, but is often covered by mosses and lichen (2). Foliage on mature trees is frequently damaged by insects, whereby leaves on sapling trees are less affected. Leaves in juvenile specimens are up to 35 cm long (3 & 4). Very painful stinging hairs cover the underside especially the veins of the leaf. Simple adult leaves with an alternate leaf arrangement are; up to 20 cm long, mostly rounded in shape with entire or toothed margins. The prominent petiole is sometimes more than 10 cm long (5). Distribution: South coast of NSW to central Qld. Note: Even half decayed leaves lying on the forest floor will still have a stinging effect. See also Shiny-leaved Stinging Tree Dendrocnide photinophylla Page 9.
Golden Guinea Tree Dillenia alata Other names: Red Beech
This medium sized tree species attains a height of up to 20m and occurs in proximity to the coastline (Photo 1). Distinctive red brown coloured bark has a soft and flaky texture (2). Very attractive flowers with obovate and bright yellow petals can reach up to 9 cm in diameter when fully opened (3). The fruit (a capsule) opens into multiple valves, which are a deep red colour on their insides (4). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; up to 20 cm long, broadly oblong in shape with entire margins, very glossy on top, thick, firm and leathery in texture. Leaf apex and base shape is rounded (5). Distribution: Tropical Qld.
Golden Pea Daviesia arborea Other names: Golden Pea Tree, Bitterleaf Pea
When not in flower this species can easily be mistaken for an Acacia species (Wattle Tree), as the foliage is very similar in appearance. It is an understorey shrub or small tree rarely reaching more than 10m in height. It prefers to grow in tall, often Eucalypt dominated forests, where it plays an important role enriching nutrient poor soils (1). In identification, the soft corky and deeply furrowed (grooved) bark differentiates the Golden Pea from similar Acacia species. Bark is brown in colour (2). The small flowers typical for the Pea & Bean Family measure up to 5 mm across and are bright yellow in colour (3). The fruit is a flattened pod, which is less than 1 cm long and up to 5 mm wide, a dried sample is shown (4). Simple leaves (phyllodes) with an alternate arrangement are; up to 20 cm long, rarely more than 1 cm wide, mostly linear in shape with entire margins, hairless, dark green on top and paler beneath. Slightly irregular parallel veins are faintly visible (5). Distribution: Northern NSW to Qld.
Golden Tip Goodia lotifolia var. pubescence Other names: Clover Bush, Yellow Pea
This widespread shrub is able to adapt to the low light conditions found under a rainforest canopy (shown), but is more abundant in transition zones and tall open forests. Under favourable conditions it can attain a height of up o 4m. Two different variations G. lotifolia var. lotifolia, with nearly hairless leaves and stems, and G.lotifolia var. pubescence (shown), which is densely hairy, are recognised (Picture 1). Bark is firm and brownish in colour (2). Trifoliate compound leaves are characteristic, but can be reduced to a single lamina (leaf blade) up to 6 cm long in shady conditions (3 & 4). When receiving more sunlight leaflets are considerably smaller, only up to 3 cm long, obovate in shape with entire margins, thin and soft in texture. Leaflet apex is rounded with a very fine tip (mucronate); base is wedge-shaped (4 & 5). Distribution: Tas, Vic, NSW and southern Qld. This species with bright yellow flowers belongs to Pea Family Fabaceae Subfamily Faboideae.
Grease Nut Tree Hernandia bivalvis
The Grease Nut Tree Hernandia bivalvis is a small to medium sized native tree species with a lush canopy reaching a height of up to 20m. It prefers dryer forms of rainforests and now is uncommon in its natural habitat (Photo 1). Bark is light to dark olive green in colour and despite burls and small fissures has a rather smooth texture (2). A very attractive flowering display takes place over late spring into early summer with individual flowers being held in tightly packed panicles emerging towards the end of young branches. Flowers measure up to 3 cm in diameter and feature mostly eight pure white petals and four prominent stamens topped by red anthers. Bracts (part of a flower appearing to be leaf like) surround and protect the ovary (3). The fruit turns black when ripe and is about 4 cm in diameter, the persistent and overlapping bracts change to orange/red in colour with full maturity (4). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; up to 10 cm long, ovate in shape with entire in-rolled margins, hairless, dark green, glossy on top with a strong a fairly stiff texture. Leaf apex is short acuminate ending in a blunt point, base shape is rounded. Reticulate venation is very prominent on both leaf surfaces, with small bristle like domatia showing in lateral vein axils (5). Distribution: South eastern Qld, now increasingly rare in its natural range.
Green Banksia Banksia robur
The Green Banksia is a shrub under 5m tall and prefers swampy conditions in coastal areas (Photo 1). Bark is grey in colour with a firm and rather rough texture featuring small fissures (Photo 2). Beautiful large flower spikes reaching up to 20 cm in length are a golden yellow colour (3). Simple leaves start in a whorl arrangement (4 to 5) beneath the growing bud turning alternate thereafter and are; large at 25 cm or more in length, elliptic in shape with irregular toothed margins, mid green, hairless and fairly glossy on top , pale yellow to cream and velvet beneath, very firm and stiff in texture. Lower leaf surface, mid vein and laterals are covered in short fine hair. Teeth are tipped with strong and sharp callous spines (5). Distribution: NSW south coast to northern Qld. See Flower Characteristics Page and Leaf Characteristics Page for information on terms used.
Green Bolly Gum Neolitsea australiensis Other names: Grey Bolly Gum
This handsome small to medium sized tree is found as an understorey species in different types of rainforests. (Image 1). Bark is a greyish white colour with a firm and hard texture (2). New growth is a striking pink and very soft compared to the firm mature leaves. Petioles (leaf stalks) are up to 3 cm long and more or less hairless compared to the closely related White Bolly Gum (Neolitsea dealbata ) (3). The fruit (a drupe) is globose in shape and measures up to 12 mm across. It changes from green over red to a dark purple colour with age and contains a single seed (4). Simple leaves are arranged in a whorl below the growing bud. They are up to 15 cm long, elliptic to lanceolate in shape with entire margins. The white colour of the leaf's underside is caused by a waxy coating which can be rubbed off (5). Distribution: From NSW central coast to central Qld.
Green-leaved Rose Walnut Endiandra muellerii subsp. muellerii Other names: Mueller's Walnut
The Green-leaved Rose Walnut or Mueller's Walnut is a native tree species which can reach a height of up to 35m within fertile subtropical rainforests, but is often encountered at a smaller size within littoral and warm temperate rainforests. It is very common as a rainforest regeneration tree and found as one of the first species to recolonize adjoining tall forests (Photo 1). Mature specimens feature a flanged and buttressed trunk. The bark is hard and rather rough in texture with small vertical ridges and scattered rounded depressions after shedding; colour is a greyish brown (2). Small pink flowers form in drooping panicles and blossom in late spring to early summer (3). Attractive new spring growth flushes first in a rose to red colour turning to salmon and light green when maturing. Mature simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are up to 11 cm in length, elliptic to broad elliptic in shape with entire and sometimes undulating margins, hairless, dark green and semi glossy on top, slightly paler but also shiny beneath with a smooth, firm and leathery texture. Apex is acute to short acuminate ending in a blunt point, base shape is cuneate to rounded. Petiole measures up to 1 cm in length. Center vein and laterals are noticeably raised on lower leaf surface and net veins are visible. Domatia are shallow pockets (mostly more inconspicuous than the domatium shown in red circle) which are not present on every leaf. For identification check a number of leaves on different branches (Photos 4 & 5). Distribution: NSW central coast to QLD.
Green Wattle Acacia irrorata Other names: Blueskin
This species of Acacia is is widely distributed along the NSW coastline and under favourable conditions can reach a height of 10m. The Green Wattle is mostly found in open tall forests, in rainforest transition zones and as regrowth in disturbed sites and along rural roads (Picture 1). Bark on mature specimens is shades of grey in colour with a firm and slightly rough texture featuring small vertical ridges, cracks are caused by sudden growth spurts due to wet conditions (Pic 2). Globose (rounded) flower heads are up to 8 mm in diameter and are first whitish in colour turning to a golden yellow with maturity. Racemes up to 10 cm in length can hold up to 20 separate flower heads (Pic 3). Fruiting flower pods are up to 12 cm in length and covered in very fine hair (Pic 4). The bipinnate leaf arrangement continuing on mature specimens features leaflets up to 20 mm in length, where young growth is a bright yellow in colour. The red growths shown in the picture are called jugary glands and can be pale yellow to bright red in colour which are also a good identification feature of this species (Pic 5). Distribution: NSW coast to QLD. See Flower Characteristics Page and Leaf Characteristics Page for information on terms used.
The genus of Australian Grevilleas is well known for its unusual and amazing flowers leading to many cultivars used in today's gardens and landscaping. Growth habit can range from a small woody shrub to a tall tree as is the case with the Silky Oak Grevillea robusta. Leaf shapes and arrangements are very varied in this native tree genus. Family: PROTEACEAE
Blue Grevillea Grevillea shiressii
The Blue Grevillea is an endangered species and only found within a small area around the NSW central coast (Photo 1). Bark is firm with wart-like lumps and small fissures, colour is dark grey to nearly black (2). Young branchlets are coloured a reddish brown with a smooth bark texture (3). Amazing flowers white and blue/mauve in colour are held on long green stems and measure about 20mm in length (4). Simple leaves alternately arranged are; up to 18 cm in length with entire and wavy margins, narrow lanceolate to oblong in shape, dark green and shiny on top with a paler underside, medium thick and firm in texture. Venation is finely reticulate, mid vein yellowish and raised on lower surface (5).
Byfield Spider Flower Grevillea venusta
The Byfield Spider Flower Grevillea venusta is a large shrub or small multi-trunked tree and one of the best examples in showing astonishing and remarkable flowers (Photo 1). Bark is a beige brown in colour, rough with fissures, blisters and cracks showing an reddish brown under layer (2). Vivid coloured fruit covered in long fine hair matures as a follicle up to 15 mm long (3). Green and bright yellow flowers with long blue styles covered in white hair are held on racemes up to 10 cm long (4) Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; more than 20 cm in length with either entire or deeply lobed margins, narrow lanceolate in shape, medium thick and fairly firm, dark green and semi glossy on top, light pale green underneath and mostly hairless. Venation overall is faint but mid vein is raised on lower surface and fine laterals are straight and steep angled (5). Distribution: Naturally only occurring in a small area in central QLD.
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Red Spider Flower Grevillea oleoides Other names: Olive Grevillea
The Red Spider Flower Grevillea oleoides or Olive Grevillea is a small native shrub up to 3 m in height with a limited distribution range preferring moist locations in sclerophyll forests (Photo 1). Bark is grey to light brown in colour with fine fissures and a rough texture (2). Striking dark pink or red flowers measure up to 4 cm across and appear over winter and early spring (3 & 4). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; up to 12 cm in length with entire and incurved margins, linear to narrow obovate in shape, mid-green and dull on top, grey green and finely hairy below with a firm texture. Apex is acute, base shape is attenuate. Mid vein is strongly raised on lower leaf surface, otherwise venation is very faint (5). Distribution: Southern areas of Sydney, Port Jackson and Robertson.
Serrated-leaved Grevillea Grevillia longifolia
Native shrub up to 5m in height with a very distinctive foliage and limited distribution range (Photo 1). Bark is a reddish brown in colour, with a rough fibrous and fissured texture (2). The glossy foliage with its nearly white underside is a good identification characteristic (3). Stunning deep pink to red flowers heads are born in winter to early spring and are up to 8 cm long (4). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; elongated up to more than 20 cm in length with irregular toothed margins, firm to stiff in texture, very narrowly elliptic to oblong in shape, deep green and glossy on top. Lower leaf surface is a silvery white colour and features a prominently raised mid vein (5). Natural distribution: Central coast of NSW.
Silky Oak Grevillea robusta
The Silky Oak Grevillea robusta is a well known tree species reaching 30m or more in height and is often seen planted as a street tree or in plantation for its beautiful timber (Photos 1 & 2). Bark is dark grey in color, hard and furrowed (3). For a short period in spring the tree nearly loses all of its foliage followed by vivid bright yellow and orange coloured flowers (4). Bipinnate compound leaves are up to 30 cm in length with more than 50 leaflets which are up to 5 cm long, elliptic in shape and feature a pale underside covered in fine hair (5). Distribution: Mid-north coast of NSW to southern QLD.
White Oak Grevillea baileyana
This small to medium sized tree species originates in tropical rainforests, but is widely used as an ornamental tree along Australia's east coast for its beautiful foliage and flower display. It can reach up to 30m in its natural habitat competing for light, whereas planted in more open location a height of less than 15m is normal (Photo 1). Bark on the lower trunk of older specimens is hard, scaly and fissured in texture. Bark on branches and young trees is smoother and grey in colour (2). Pleasantly scented flower racemes are cream or pale yellow colored and appear at end of young branches from late winter to early summer depending on location (3). The fruit is a follicle splitting at one side only and measures up to 15 mm in length. It contains a number of flattened and winged seeds which are brown in colour (4). The very attractive leaves are deeply lobed on young trees and sometimes also present on older specimens. Simple adult leaves (shown) with an alternate arrangement are; lanceolate in shape with entire margins, between 10 to 20 cm in length (juvenile up to 30 cm), mid to dark green, hairless on top, bronze to rusty brown and hairy beneath with a strong and firm texture. Leaf apex tapers into a fine point, base shape is attenuate. Mid vein is hairy and raised on lower leaf surface (5). Distribution: Tropical northern QLD.
White Yiel-Yiel Grevillea hilliana Other names: Yiel-Yiel, Hill's Silky Oak
This medium sized native tree species grows to a height of up to 25m with an erect and slender trunk. It is very uncommon in its natural habitat of subtropical rainforests (Photo 1). Bark is a reddish brown in colour with a rough and flaky texture at the base of the trunk, whereas the higher part and branches feature a smoother textured bark which is more beige in colour (Photos 2 & 3). The flower racemes can be more than 20 cm in length holding numerous small whitish blossom opening in late spring (4). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement on mature specimens (juveniles have lobed leaves up to 50 cm in length) are; up to 30 cm in length with entire margins, mostly elliptic or lanceolate in shape, dark green, very glossy and hairless on top, grey whitish beneath with a covering of fine hair, strong and rather stiff in texture. Leaf apex is acute ending in a blunt point, base shape is cuneate or sometimes more attenuate. The short petiole measures up to 10 mm in length. Reticulate venation is very apparent on lower leaf surface (5). Distribution: NSW north coast to QLD.
To locate trees by botanical name or to find related species go to:Species List Botanical, which also shows all family names.
Grey Handlewood Aphananthe philippinensis Other names: Native Elm, Axe-handle Wood
This native tree prefers a moist environment within subtropical or tropical rainforests and along streams banks. As an understorey tree beneath taller rainforest species it may only reach 10m, but under good conditions is able to attain more than 25m in height (Photo 1). Buttress roots develop on older specimens with the trunk being often misshaped and fluted. The rough bark is grey to more brown in colour and covered in longitudinal rows of small blisters (pustules) (2). Separate female and male (shown) flowers are borne on the same tree (monoecious) and are tiny at less than 5mm long. Flowering period is over spring (3). The fruit is a fleshy drupe changing from green over yellow to black. It is egg-shaped (ovoid ) or more olive-shaped (ellipsoid) and measure up to 1 cm in length. The remnant forked (bifid) flower style persists at the apex of the fruit maturing in late summer (4). Mature simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; between 3 to 10 cm in length, mostly ovate (egg-shaped) with up to 6 sharp, spiny teeth along either side, hairless, rather glossy, stiff and tough in texture. Prominent mid and lateral veins are impressed on the upper and strongly raised on the lower leaf surface (5). Distribution: from the NSW mid-north-coast to northern QLD.
Grey Myrtle Backhousia myrtifolia Other names: Ironwood, Carrol
The Grey Myrtle Backhousia myrtifolia also called Carrol or Ironwood is a widespread native tree species found in different forest types and under favourable conditions can reach a height of up to 20m (Photo1). Bark on older specimens is; very hard, rough, fissured and depending on conditions more grey or brown in colour (2). Attractive flowers a pure white in colour and measure up to 15 mm in diameter (3). The fruit still resembles the shape of a flower as the calyx (base) of the original flower enlarges and partly encloses the ripe fruit (4). Growing buds, immature leaves and young stems are finely hairy. Mature simple leaves are; hairless, small at 3 to 6 cm in length, broad elliptic to ovate in shape with entire and slightly incurved margins, dark green and glossy on top, paler beneath, thin but firm in texture and scented when crushed. Leaf apex is short to long acuminate ending in a fine point, base shape is mostly rounded. Mid vein is raised on both surfaces, straight and numerous lateral veins are more visible below (5). Distribution: NSW south coast to central QLD.
Grey Possumwood Quintinia verdonii Other names: Smooth Possumwood
This elegant native tree species grows up to 25 m in height and is found in warm temperate and subtropical rainforests (Photo 1). The bark is a mostly uniform grey in colour with a soft, smooth and corky feel (Photo 2). The foliage featuring large glossy leaves is very distinctive in its sub tropical rainforest habitat (3). Erect flower spikes are up to 15 cm long and appear in early spring (4). Growing shoots and petioles are often a vivid red. Large simple leaves are mainly obovate in shape; up to 20 cm in length (often larger on saplings), with a firm and stiff texture. Petiole is grooved on the top, fleshy and often coloured red, useful identification characteristic. Leaf arrangement is alternate (5). Distribution: Along the east coast of Australia from central NSW to southern QLD.
Guilfoylia Guilfoylia monostylis Other names: Scrub Ooline
Guilfoylia is a small to medium sized tree species reaching a height of 15m or more and can be found in a range of different rainforest types (Photo 1). The bark is coloured brown to grey with longitudinal fissures (Pictures 2 & 3). The zigzag shape of the branchlets is a characteristic helping to identify this tree species. Leaf arrangement is alternate (4). Simple leaves with entire margins and a firm and leathery texture are: up to 14cm long, elliptic to oblong in shape and feature visible domatia on the lower leaf surface along the mid vein. Apex is short acuminate, base shape is cuneate (5). Distribution: From NSW mid-north coast to central QLD.
Guioa Guioa semiglauca
Small to medium sized tree species found in range of habitats, from margins of STRf and along creek banks to a drier environment within tall forest. Often growing in stands and as regrowth (Photo 1). Buttress roots will form on more mature specimen. Bark is different tones of grey in colour with lighter patches, some white spots are due to lichen growth (2). Tiny white flowers with pink anthers measure only a couple of millimeters across and blossom over spring (3) Compound leaves with an alternate arrangement feature 2 to 6 leaflets which are; obovate in shape as new growth, more elliptic in shape when maturing, firm and rather leathery in texture. Leaflets are up to about 12 cm in length with underside being a pale whitish green in appearance. Leaflet apex is varied from rounded and often notched (emarginate) to acute , base shape is cuneate (4 & 5). Distribution: NSW south coast to central QLD.
Gunn's Phyllanthus Phyllanthus Gunnii Other names: Shrubby Spurge
The natural habitat of this shrub includes tall open forests, rainforests and their margins where as an understorey species it can reach a height of up to 3m (Photo 1). Bark on older specimens is light brown in color, firm and rough in texture showing fine cracks (fissures) and small ridges (2). Tiny flowers are yellowish green in colour and only measure 2 to 3 mm in length. Flowering period is spring and summer (3). The drooping fruit ( a capsule) is red in colour with some greenish patches and rounded apple-like in shape. It measures up to 4 mm in diameter and ripens over autumn (4). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are spaced at very regular intervals (2-ranked). They are; up to 2cm in length with entire margins, varied in shape from obovate or broad elliptic to nearly rounded, dark green and dull above, paler grey green below, hairless, thin and soft in texture. Leaf apex is rounded, base shape is rounded or broadly wedge shaped. Leaf stalk (petiole) is short a 1 to 2 mm in length. Lateral veins are fine, but clearly visible on lower leaf surface (5). Distribution: Vic., NSW & QLD.