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Tree identification pictures of Australian East Coast species in full colour and enlarged sizes. Detailed description explaining leaf, bark, flower, fruit and other characteristics are listed for each native tree species. The natural distribution range and special features useful in identification are given for specimen listed on our web pages. All Creative Designs Nambucca & Coffs Harbour® presents native Australian tree images for identification purposes. Vegetative features in identification of a native tree or shrub can be divided into a number of categories. They include; leaf, flower, fruit, bark characteristics and the size, shape and form, collectively called the habit of the plant. 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.
Red Ash Alphitonia excelsa Other names: Soap Bush
This frequently encountered tree species, found in regrowth and on margins of different rainforest types, has a relative open canopy and reaches 20m in height. Some exceptional specimens growing within subtropical rainforests can be more than 30m tall (Picture 1). Bark is grey in colour with longitudinal fissures. On older trees the trunk is often fluted and bark becomes furrowed and corky at the base (2) Small creamy white flowers appear in spring and are followed by rounded or ovoid shaped fruit turning black when fully mature (Pictures 3 & 4). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; up to 15 cm long, oblong to narrow elliptic in shape with entire margins, hairless dark green on top, hairy greyish white beneath and soft in texture. Leaf stalk (petiole) is up to 20 mm long and light brown in colour. Mid rib and lateral veins are a yellowish green (5). The very similar Alphitonia petriei is shown on Page 8. Distribution: South coast of NSW to central Qld. See Leaf Characteristics Page for explanations of botanical terms 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
Red-barked Sassafras Cinnamomum virens
This small to medium sized tree species is a member of the Laurel family (LAURACEAE) known for their spicy scent and occurs in subtropical and warm temperate rainforests (Photo 1). Bark is red brown in colour with a finely fissured texture and some blisters (2). Simple leaves with an opposite arrangement are; up to 13 cm long, mostly lanceolate or sometimes elliptic in shape with entire margins, dark green and glossy on top, paler and semi glossy below, hairless, scented when crushed with a firm and stiff texture. Apex is acute, base shape is cuneate. Leaves are mostly three-veined in the lower part of the lamina, which is a good identification characteristic. Fine reticulate venation is visible under a lens (3, 4 & 5). Distribution: From the central coast of NSW to southern Qld.
Red Boppel Nut Hicksbeachia pinnatifolia
This beautiful small and relative uncommon subtropical rainforest tree species has an upright and slender growth habit (Picture 1). Bark is light brown in colour, firm and finely fissured (2). The distinctive foliage features large compound leaves able to reach more than 80 cm in length. They show an alternate arrangement and are a characteristic feature in identification of this tree species (Picture 3). Gorgeous purple and dark red flowers appear on the trunk over late autumn and winter (4). Leaves are very deeply lobed, giving the appearance of separate leaflets, with more than 30 lobes possible on the same leaf. Lobes have irregular toothed margins with small spines and are; up to 25 cm long with a dark green and glossy upper surface, hairless with a firm and stiff texture (5). Distribution: NSW mid north coast to southern Qld.
Red Carabeen Geissois benthamii
This native tree species reaches a height of up to 40m and occurs in subtropical and warm temperate rainforests (Picture 1). Older specimens develop beautifully fluted and buttressed trunks with a fairly smooth, reddish brown bark showing small fissures (2). Long flower racemes are up to 20 cm long and hold a large number of stalked white to pale yellow coloured flowers, which blossom in late spring to early summer. New growth flushes in pink-salmon colours turning to a bright red (3). The fruit is a softly hairy and dry capsule up to 20 mm long. It splits along its sides to disperse a number of flattened brown seeds with a small papery wing on one side (4). The large and leafy stipules (on young growth at nodes) are prominent features when identifying the Red Carabeen Geissois benthamii. Trifoliate compound leaves with an opposite arrangement consist of 3 leaflets, which are; up to 20 cm long, elliptic or oblanceolate in shape with toothed margins, hairless, glossy and rather firm. Apex is acute or short acuminate, base shape is cuneate. Petiolules (leaflet stalks) are up to 15 mm long and the strong petiole (leaf stalk) measures up to 10 cm or more. Venation is clearly visible showing prominent curved lateral veins (5). Distribution: NSW mid-north coast to southern Qld. See Leaf Characteristics and Flower Identification Page for explanations of botanical terms used.
Red Cedar Toona ciliata [Toona australis]
The Red Cedar is a magnificent very large tree species with an expansive buttressed root system reaching a height of more than 50m. Best development occurs in subtropical rainforests on nutrient rich soils, but to a lesser extent is also found in drier types of rainforests. Specimens as the one shown are rare these days due to heavy logging since the 1830's for its beautiful timber (Picture 1). Bark on mature trees is a light brown colour with large scales and a rough, flaky texture (2). Small whitish flowers are held on drooping panicles, measure up to 4 mm in diameter and bloom over spring (3). The obovoid (pear shaped) fruit is up to 20 mm long and features 5 lobes (chambers) containing tightly packed winged seeds. Fruit turns browner in colour with maturity, but is often attacked by insects at this stage (4). After a short deciduous time over winter new emerging foliage flushes in red tones. Pinnate compound leaves consist of up to 20 leaflets, which are; up to 14 cm long, mostly ovate in shape with entire margins, hairless, smooth and rather soft in texture. Leaflet apex is short acuminate ending in a fine point and base shape is asymmetric. Venation is clearly visible on both leaflet surfaces (5). Distribution: NSW central coast to Qld.
Red Kamala Mallotus philippensis Other names: Orange Kamala
This small under-storey tree species is a common occurrence on margins of subtropical and within other rainforests types, in regrowth areas and in tall Eucalypt dominated forests. Under favourable conditions the Red Kamala can attain a height of more than 10m and often develops an attractive dense crown (Image 1). Bark on mature specimens is hard with a fairly smooth texture and mostly shades of grey green in colour with patches where fine fissuring exposes a brown under-layer (2). Small greenish yellow flowers are held on racemes, which are up to 20 cm long, covered in fine brown hair and bloom over spring (3). The fruit is a tough and 3 lobed (chambered) capsule, orange to red in colour, which splits lengthwise to reveal 3 hard and brownish coloured seeds (4). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; up to 22 cm long, ovate to wide lanceolate in shape with mostly entire margins, mid-green and hairless on top, a greyish green colour and covered in fine hair below, rather thin and soft in texture. Leaf apex is acute, base shape is rounded. The three prominent veins in the lower half of the leaf are a characteristic for the species. The long petiole (leaf stalk), which is hairy and can be more than 8 cm long, is a distinctive feature in identification (5). Distribution: From NSW central coast to Qld. See Flower Characteristics Page and Leaf Characteristics Page for information on terms used.
Red Olive Berry Elaeodendron australe var australe Other names: Red Olive Plum
The Red Olive Plum is a native shrub or small tree less than 10m in height. It occurs naturally as an under-storey species in different types of rainforests and adjacent sclerophyll forest (Picture 1). Bark is firm in texture, a reddish brown in colour and shows shallow vertical fissures and small ridges (2). Fruit (a drupe) is often more globose (globe shaped) than ovoid (olive shaped), bright red (or orange) in colour and measures up to 25 mm in length. A thin fleshy layer covers the hard shelled seed (Pictures 3 & 4). Simple leaves with an opposite arrangement are; up to 10 cm long, mostly broad elliptic in shape with crenate or more bluntly toothed margins, dark green and glossy on top, duller and light green beneath with a smooth, strong and slightly stiff texture. Leaf apex is acute ending in a rounded point, base shape is cuneate and only the mid vein is prominent (5). Distribution: From NSW south coast to northern Qld.
Red Sandalwood Adenanthera pavonina Other names: Bead Tree, Red Beantree, Coralwood, Circassan Tree, Zumbic Tree, Barricarri and more.
This medium sized tree species is known under a number of different common names due to its large distribution range across tropical Asia and northern Australia. It can reach a height of more than 20m in its natural habitat of lowland tropical rainforests. Mature trees are deciduous or semi-deciduous for a short time over winter (Picture 1). Bark has a firm and rather smooth texture, but turns rough and flaky around the base of older trees. It is grey with a reddish tinge in colour (2). The fruit is a sickle-shaped pod up to 20 cm long, changing from green to black in colour with full maturity. It will split on two sides, then curl and twist when drying to reveal up to a dozen very hard and bright red coloured seeds. Seeds are very uniform in weight, size and shape making them useful as beads in craft work. Fruit ripens over winter into spring (3 & 4). Large bipinnate compound leaves are up to 40 cm long with up to 6 pairs of pinnae, each holding up to 15 individual leaflets. Leaflets are: between 2 to 4 cm long, mostly oblong in shape with entire margins, hairless when mature, dark green, dull on top, pale green beneath, thin and soft in texture. Leaflet apex and base shape is rounded. Fine venation is more visible on lower leaflet surface (3 & 5). Distribution: Northern tropical Qld, WA & NT and Asia.
Red Tulip Oak Argyrodendron peralatum Other names: Red Crowsfoot
This stately tree can reach a height of up to 50m in its habitat of tropical rainforests, where it often forms the uppermost canopy. The column like trunk on mature trees is often branchless to half or more of its height (Picture 1). Large wing-like buttress roots developing on older specimens are a good identification feature (2). Bark texture is scalier and a more reddish brown in colour compared to that of its close relative the Brown Tulip Oak or White Booyong (Argyrodendron trifoliolatum) (3). Compound leaves feature three leaflets (trifoliolate) which are; up to 18 cm long, mostly elliptic in shape with entire margins, mid green, semi-glossy on top, whitish or silver coloured beneath, (good identification feature), rather thin but strong in texture. Leaflet apex is short acuminate, base shape is cuneate. Centre vein is prominently raised and can be covered in rusty scales on lower leaflet surface, up to 30 pairs of fine laterals veins are showing. The strong petiole (leaf stalk) is up to 10 cm long. Distribution: Tropical east coast of Qld. See also: Black Booyong (Argyrodendron actinophyllum) on Page 1 and White Booyong (Argyrodendron trifoliolatum) Page 12.
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Ribbonwood Euroschinus falcatus Other names: Pink Poplar, Chinaman's Cedar, Maiden's Blush, Cudgerie
Due to its extensive distribution range this attractive tree is known under a number of common names, confusingly the names Maiden's Blush and Cudgerie are also used for other unrelated species. Under ideal conditions the Ribbonwood reaches a height of more than 25m and with age forms a relative dense canopy with bright green foliage. It is a common species found in many different habitats ranging from mountainous regions at elevations above 1000m to the shoreline (1). Bark is brown in colour (grey patches are caused by lichen) and becomes rough, furrowed and scaly at the base of trunks of older specimens. A fruity scent is emitted when younger branches are rubbed (2). In some years prolific flowering over spring and summer makes this species a standout feature with large conspicuous multi-branching panicles appearing towards the end of young branches. Each panicle bears large numbers of small cream coloured flowers that open successively over a period of time. Flowers with 5 ovate petals measure about 5 to 6mm across when fully opened. Male flowers (shown) feature 10 stamens with white filaments topped by large (in relation to the size of the flower) and bright yellowish-orange anthers (3). The fruit is a fleshy drupe that turns black at full maturity and contains a brown coloured flattened seed (4). Pinnate compound leaves consist of up to ten leaflets, which are; up to 10 cm long, mostly ovate in shape with entire margins, hairless, dark green, smooth and faintly mango-like scented when crushed. Leaflet base shape is asymmetric. Conspicuous domatia (inset 5) appear as bristly tufts along the centre vein on the underside of leaflets. This and other specific characters such as smell make it relative easy to identify this tree species (5). Distribution: Two variations are recognised; E. falcatus var.falcatus from southern NSW to northern Qld and E. falcatus var. angustifolius north from central Qld.
Ringwood Anetholea anisata [Syzygium anisatum, Backhousia anisata] Other names: Aniseed Myrtle, Aniseed Tree
This beautiful tree species can attain a height of up to 40m and naturally occurs along water courses, but is rare these days due to clearing of subtropical rainforests. Specimen shown is regularly effected by flooding (Photo 1). Bark is a weathered grey with shallow furrows on older specimens compared to the reddish brown bark with a softer texture on younger trees (2 & 3). Vibrant green and uniform foliage is a prominent feature when identifying this species (4). Simple leaves with an opposite arrangement are; up to 11 cm long, lanceolate to elliptic in shape with very wavy margins, hairless, rather thin but firm in texture. Leaf apex is long acuminate, base shape is cuneate. Mid vein is pronounced on lower leaf surface and numerous straight laterals are faintly visible. Petioles and young stems are coloured red. Identify leaves by the pleasant aniseed odour emitted when crushed (Photos 4 & 5). Distribution: Rare, small natural range on the mid-north coast of NSW.
River Bottlebrush Callistemon sieberi [Callistemon paludosus]
The common name implies that this native shrub or small tree prefers a moist habitat along stream banks or within open forests, where mature specimens can reach a height of up to 8m and often develop a weeping foliage. It has a wide distribution range and is a common occurrence on both sides of the Great Dividing Range along Australia's east coast (Picture 1). Bark on the trunk of mature trees is rough, deeply furrowed and hard in texture. It is a light brown in colour first, then weathers to grey (2). Small flower spikes are inconspicuous when compared to other Callistemon species, but are an unusual and attractive pale pink in colour. Individual flowers feature a bundle of pink or sometimes cream coloured filaments less than 1 cm long, which are topped by bright yellow anthers. Tiny petals are rounded in shape and a transparent, whitish green in colour. The green calyx (base), is covered in very fine hair (no flower stalks). The long flowering period lasts from late spring to autumn (3). The fruit is a small cup-shaped capsule measuring less than 5 mm across, with a wide and flat rim at the top. Old capsules will remain on branches for years (4). Simple mature leaves with an alternate arrangement are; up to 9 cm long, mostly narrow elliptic in shape (widest around the middle) with entire margins, dull grey green on both surfaces, hairless, strong and rigid in texture. Leaf apex shape narrows very gradually into a hard, sharp tip, base shape is cuneate. Venation with exception of the midrib is very faint (5). Distribution: Vic, NSW & Qld.
River She-oak Casuarina cunninghamiana
This medium to tall tree attains up to 40m in height and is commonly found along freshwater courses on most of Australia's east coast, on the Great Dividing range and in drier inland locations (Picture 1). Bark is dark grey, sometimes more brown in colour and has a tough hard texture (2). This species is dioecious, having male and female flowers on separate trees. The female flower (shown before opening) is up to 15 mm in diameter and matures in late summer (3). Spiky cones, shown before opening, are borne on outer branchlets and reach up to 12 mm in diameter (4). Branchlets are up to 30 cm long with tiny scale like leaves up to 5 mm long appearing in whorls of 8 - 10 at internodes spaced less than 1 cm apart (5). Distribution: From southern NSW to northern Qld. 2 subspecies cunninghamiana (shown) and subsp. miodon mainly occurring in NT. This species is protected in NSW.
Rose Butternut Blepharocarya involucrigera Other names: North Queensland Bollygum
Under ideal conditions this species can develop into a tall tree reaching 40m in height, with mature trees developing a dense and rounded canopy (1). Bark has a firm and finely rough texture and is grey with a pink or reddish hue in colour (2). The unusual fruit is enclosed by a number of bracts referred to as an involucre. After opening these bracts become woody and remain on the tree for some time or can be found on the forest floor, which makes them a good identification feature (3). The petiole and to a lesser degree the rachis has a flattened underside and are covered in small blisters (lenticels) (4). The pinnate compound leaf features up to 12 leaflets, which are; up to 15 cm long, elliptic to ovate in shape with entire margins, hairless, dark green when mature, paler green beneath, rather thick and strong in texture. The petiolules (leaflet stalks) are yellow in colour and grooved on the upper surface. Mid rib on lower surface is strongly raised and yellowish. Distribution: Tropical North Qld. Note: This species is reported to cause allergic reactions to some people when touched.
Rose Myrtle Archirhodomyrtus beckleri
This attractive small tree species reaches a height of up to 10m and occurs on margins of subtropical rainforest as an under storey species, or more often as a tall shrub in adjacent tall forests (Picture 1). Bark changes from a fairly smooth texture and a light brown colour on immature specimens (inset picture 2) to a rough, scalier texture and a darker grey brown colour on mature trees (2). The distinctive foliage of the Rose Myrtle is very glossy and arranged in a very orderly fashion (3). Beautifully scented flowers with pure white petals and pink stamens are held on individual stalks or appear in small groups of 3. They arise from axillary buds and appear over spring (4). Simple opposite arranged leaves are; small between 2 to 5 cm long, varied in shape from broad elliptic to obovate with entire margins, dark green and very glossy on top, paler but also glossy beneath, hairless, thin and soft with a polished like texture. Apex is long acuminate ending in a blunt point, base shape is cuneate to rounded. The three-veined pattern starting from the base of the leaf is broadly raised on the upper surface, which is a good identification feature. On the lower leaf surface only the mid vein is clearly visible. Leaves are very pleasantly scented when crushed (5). Distribution: NSW mid-north coast to central Qld.
To locate trees by botanical name or to find related species go to:Species List Botanical, which also shows all family names.
Rose-leaved Marara Ackama paniculata [Calduvia paniculosa] Other names: Soft Corkwood
The Rose-leaved Marara can grow to 30m or more in height and occurs in different types of rainforests. It is often a pioneer species in regenerating forest areas (Picture 1). The bark has distinct variations from the shallow fissured example to the deeply fissured, more irregular texture shown in the inset, both are very soft and corky (Picture 2). Masses of small white flowers held on large terminal panicles turn reddish with age (3). The fruit is a tiny rounded and hairy capsule measuring up to 3 mm in diameter. It is a reddish brown in colour and contains numerous very fine seeds (4). Mature pinnate compound leaves with an opposite arrangement feature up to 7 leaflets, which are; very varied, 12 to more than 20 cm long, mostly elliptic in shape with finely toothed, crenate or nearly entire margins, nearly hairless to very hairy under shady conditions, light to dark green in colour (depending on sun exposure) and rather soft in texture. Leaflet apex is acute, base shape is cuneate. Other identification characteristics are stipule scars at leaf nodes on branchlets and clearly visible domatia along mid-vein on lower leaflet surface. In good sunlight conditions new growth can flush in pink tones (5). Distribution: NSW central coast to tropical Qld.
See Flower Identification and Leaf Identification Page for information on terms used.
Rosewood Dysoxylum fraserianum Other names: Rose Mahogany
This tall native tree species is well known for its beautiful timber and can reach a height of up to 40m in its natural habitat of subtropical rainforests (Picture 1). Older specimens feature a scaly, reddish brown bark (2). Pinnate compound leaves with an alternate arrangement consist of 4 to 10 leaflets (mostly 8), which are; up to 12 cm long, mainly lanceolate in shape with entire margins, hairless, dark green, glossy on top, paler green beneath and smooth in texture. Large domatia along the mid vein on the underside of the leaflet are a prominent characteristic to assist in identification of this tree species (3, 4, & 5). Distribution: NSW south coast to southern Qld.
Rusty Carabeen Aceratium ferrugineum
The Rusty Carabeen has a limited distribution range within upland tropical rainforests and under ideal conditions can reach a height of 30m. This very ornamental tree has the potential to be used in landscaping within subtropical climate zones and will produce flowers / fruit at a young age (1). Bark on younger stems is grey in colour, hard and rough in texture due to fine fissures (2). The fleshy fibrous fruit turns red at full maturity and is covered in fine white hair. It is ellipsoid (oval) or more ovoid (egg-shaped) and up to 5 cm long (3 & 4). Simple leaves with an opposite arrangement are; up to 16 cm long, obovate (reverse egg-shaped) with entire margins, dark green, glossy, except for mid rib hairless on top (when mature), paler green and rusty (brown) hairy beneath and firm in texture. Conspicuous venation is densely covered in rusty brown hair and raised on lower leaf surface. Impressed lateral veins on the upper surface add rigidity to the lamina. Leafstalks less than 2 cm long, young branches and new growth are all rusty hairy (5). Distribution: Restricted and endemic to north Qld.
Rusty Pittosporum Pittosporum ferrugineum
This densely foliated shrub or small tree reaches less than 10m in height on a single and often crooked trunk up to 30 cm in diameter. It is naturally found as an understorey species on boundaries and within upland and lowland tropical rainforests (Photo 1). Bark is cream grey in colour and fairly rough in texture with small ridges and flaky patches covering the surface (2). The fruit is a capsule splitting on two sides to disperse up to a dozen seeds, each covered in a very sticky and bright red coloured aril. The fruit, up to 12 mm long, is irregular rounded or more pear-shaped with a small nipple at the apex and turns yellow or orange with full maturity (3 & 4). Simple leaves are arranged in a whorl of 4 or 5 when emerging, turning to an opposite or sometimes alternate arrangement as the mature. Leaves are; up to 12 cm long, varied in shape from elliptic to obovate with broadly undulating margins, mostly hairless, dark green, dull on top, paler green, short rusty hairy beneath and soft in texture. Apex is acute ending in a rounded tip, base shape is cuneate. Mid rib and lateral veins are raised on the lower leaf surface and covered in woolly, rusty hair as are the petiole and young stems (4 & 5). Distribution: Tropical Qld (shown) and NT, but has been spreading to subtropical location along the coast in more recent times.
Rusty Plum Niemeyera whitei
Due to its small distribution range and extensive clearing of subtropical rainforests the Rusty Plum Niemeyera whitei has become are relative rare native tree species. The largest specimens can be found on fertile and well drained soils in the second strata of undisturbed subtropical rainforests, where it can attain a height of more than 25m (Photo 1). Older trees develop a fluted trunk and feature a reddish brown bark with longitudinal fissures (2). Very unusual flowers borne on younger branches are a whitish cream in colour and measure up to 20 mm across (3). The globular seed is up to 6 cm in diameter, brown in colour and covered by a thin layer of fruit flesh with a purplish black and shiny skin (4). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; in between 10 to 20 cm long, elliptic to oblanceolate in shape with entire margins, thick and rather firm, dark green, hairless and semi glossy on top, paler and densely hairy below. Apex is short acuminate, base shape is cuneate. Mid vein and laterals are raised and covered in fine rusty brown hair on lower leaf surface. Petiole is up to 10 mm long and very hairy, as are twigs and young branches (5). Distribution: NSW mid-north coast to southern Qld.
Rusty Pods Hovea longifolia
Moist gullies close to rainforest margins are the preferred habitat for this upright shrub reaching a height of 3m (1). New bark is light-brown in colour turning darker with age and has a firm texture (2). The flower (pea-like and characteristic for the pea/bean family, FABACEAE) is pale mauve in colour with darker veins towards the centre. One or two flowers emerge from axillary buds along branches and measure up to 12 mm in diameter (3). The fruit is an ovoid shaped pod up to 12 mm long, which is covered in fine brown hair, as are the old calyx, stems and young branches. The pod contains (mostly) two small bean shaped seeds, yellowish green in colour (4). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; 4 to 9 cm long, oblong in shape with entire in-rolled margins, very narrow, not more than 6 mm wide, dark green, glossy, hairless on upper surface, pale green, short woolly hairy beneath, strong and rather stiff in texture. Leaf apex shape is rounded, base is obtuse. Mid vein on upper surface is sunken, as are the fine net veins. The raised mid vein on lower leaf surface is covered in rusty brown hair (5). Distribution range: Eastern side of the Great Divide from Vic, NSW & Qld. Note: This species has a range of recognized variations.
Sassafras Doryphora sassafras
This common tree is often encountered as an under-storey species within different types of rainforests. In these habitats it is rarely more than 10m tall, but under favourable conditions has the potential to reach 25m in height (Photo 1). Bark has a rather hard texture with a granular surface and is light brown in colour (2). The glossy and scented foliage is a distinctive feature in identification of this species (3). Up to 3 whitish flowers are supported by a common stalk (peduncle) and reach about 2 cm in diameter when fully opened (4). Simple leaves with an opposite arrangement are; up to 10 cm long, mostly elliptic in shape with toothed and wavy margins, hairless, glossy on their upper surface, scented when crushed, firm and rather leathery in texture. Lower leaf surface is a paler green and moderately shiny. Reticulate venation is quite prominent (5). Distribution: from the NSW south coast to central Qld.
Satinwood Nematolepis squamea ssp. squamea
This hardy and adaptable shrub or small tree can reach a height of up to 10m. It is found in a wide range of different forest types, including rainforests and locations in close proximity to the coast. The specimen shown is the subspecies N. squamea occurring in NSW (Photo 1). Bark on the often multi-stemmed trunk is grey/brown in colour with a firm and finely rough texture due to blisters and small ridges (2). Flowering takes place over late winter into spring with crowded panicles of individual flowers appearing along the length of branches. Flowers measure less than 1 cm across when fully opened and show 5 white petals and prominent stamens topped by yellow anthers (3 & 4). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; up to 10 cm long, mostly long elliptic in shape with entire margins, dark green on top, silver-white beneath and rather soft in texture. Leaf apex shape is acute, base shape is cuneate. Mid vein is sunken on top and strongly raised below, otherwise venation is not visible. Petiole (leaf stalk) is less than 1 cm long and covered in small silvery scales (5). Distribution: Tas, Vic, NSW & Qld; as different subspecies.
Saw-tooth Banksia Banksia serrata Other names: Old man Banksia, Saw Banksia
The common name refers to the sharp and regularly spaced teeth along the (serrated) leaf margins. In exposed coastal locations it is likely to be a tall spreading shrub or small tree, whereas in open forests the Saw-tooth Banksia produces a more upright trunk and is able to reach a height of 15m (1). The distinctive bark is a greyish brown in colour, lumpy and soft corky in texture (2). The large cylindrical flower heads are up to 20cm long and produce masses of cream to pale green coloured flowers with prominent curved styles (3). The dry fruit (a follicle) becomes woody at maturity and splits horizontally to disperse a number of winged seeds. Follicles are grey in colour, thick-walled and up to 35mm wide (4). Simple leaves are borne in a crowded whorl arrangement at end of branches. Leaves are; up to 20cm long, narrow oblong in shape with toothed margins, hairless (when mature), dark green on top, pale green beneath, thick, strong and rigid in texture (5). Distribution: Vic., NSW and southern Qld. See also: Coastal Banksia (B. integrifolia) Page 2 and Green Banksia (B. robur) Page 6.
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Scarlet Bean Archidendron lucyi
This beautiful small tree is found under the dense canopy of tropical lowland rainforests. The specimen in the image is partly overgrown by a Giant Pepper Vine (Piper hederaceum) (Picture 1). The bark on older trees is greyish brown in colour with a rough texture, marked by lenticels (blisters) and horizontal ridges (2). The striking flowers are scented and dominated by numerous white stamens up to 50mm long (3). The large pinnate compound leaf features a petiole (leaf stalk) showing a distinct gland at the base. The compound leaf normally bears 6 leaflets, which are; up to 20cm long; broad elliptic, ovate or obovate (reverse egg-shaped) with entire margins, hairless, smooth, glossy on both surfaces and firm in texture (4 & 5). Distribution: North-eastern Qld. This species is an attractive ornamental small tree for shady, frost-free environments. See also: Pink Laceflower A. grandiflorum (Page 8) and White Laceflower A. hendersonii (Page 12).
Scented Acronychia Acronychia littoralis
Due to extensive clearing of littoral (close to the beach) subtropical rainforests the habitat of this small under-storey tree species is severely restricted. Mature specimens are less than 10m tall and develop a dense canopy (Photo 1). Bark is grey brown in colour, fairly smooth in texture with fine fissures (Photos 2 & 3). The fleshy fruit (a drupe) is globose in shape; up to 20 mm across, cream to yellow in colour and contains a single seed (4). Simple (1-Foliate) leaves with an opposite arrangement are; up to 15 cm long, mostly obovate in shape with entire margins, fairly glossy on both surfaces, hairless with a firm and fleshy texture. Leaves feature a rounded and notched (emarginate) apex and a cuneate (wedge-shaped) base. Leaves are scented when crushed (5). Distribution: From the mid-north coast of NSW to southern Qld.
Scentless Rosewood Synoum glandulosum
Found as an under-storey species in different types of rainforests and adjacent sclerophyll forests the Scentless Rosewood Synoum glandulosum grows to height of up to 15m. This common species derives its name from the similarity of its timber to the Rosewood Dysoxylum fraserianum, but without being scented (Photo 1). Bark on more mature specimens is rough and furrowed in texture, and grey brown in colour (2). The globose shaped fruit (a capsule) matures in late winter to spring and features 3 lobes containing 3 to 5 seeds, which are partly covered by a bright red aril. It measures up to 18 mm in diameter and turns a yellow-orange when ripe (3). Pinnate compound leaves consists of up to 9 leaflets, which are; up to 12 cm long, mainly oblanceolate in shape with entire margins, mid-green and rather dull on top, paler beneath, hairless, thin and soft in texture. Leaf apex is acute, base shape is attenuate (4). The strongly raised mid vein has clearly visible hairy domatia along its length helping in identification of this species (5). Distribution: Common from the NSW south coast to Qld. See Leaf Characteristics Page for explanations of botanical definitions used.
To locate trees by botanical name or to find related species go to:Species List Botanical, which also shows all family names.
Shiny-leaved Stinging Tree Dendrocnide photinophylla
This medium sized tree species, reaching a height of up to 20m, grows in a range of different rainforest types and features a very glossy foliage (Photo 1). Bark on younger specimens is a light grey in colour and changes to a more light brown with maturity. Texture is rather soft and fairly smooth with some horizontal ridges and bumps (2). The tiny brown fruit is located on top of very swollen white and fleshy stalks clustering together (3). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; up to 15 cm long, ovate in shape with varied margins from nearly entire to toothed and even crenate. Leaves are fairly thin, soft and feature small stinging hair, mainly on the petiole (leaf stalk) and main veins. Leaf apex is acute, base shape is rounded (5). Distribution: NSW central coast to southern Qld. Note: Effect of stinging hair is fairly mild compared to that of the Giant Stinging Tree Dendrocnide excelsa (Page 4).
Short-leaved Beetroot Ellatostachys xylocarpa Other names: White Tamarind
The Short-leaved Beetroot or White Tamarind is a small to medium size native tree species found in drier types of rainforests (Photo 1). Bark on the lower trunk is hard, rather smooth with minute longitudinal fissures and dark green to nearly black in colour (2). The three (sometimes 4) valved fruit (a capsule) turns a yellow orange when fully ripe. It measures up to 2 cm across and contains 3 or 4 black seeds (3). Pinnate compound leaves feature up to 6 leaflets, which are; up to 8 cm long, mostly elliptic in shape with mainly irregular toothed margins, mid green fairly dull to satin glossy on top, slightly paler beneath, firm and strong in texture. Young stems, petiole, petiolule and veins on lower leaf surface are all covered in fine, white hair. Leaflet apex is acute; base shape rounded. Venation is very prominent on both surfaces. Large and numerous domatia, present as swellings on lower leaflet surface, are a good identification characteristic (Photos 4 & 5). Distribution: Upper mid-north coast of NSW to central Qld.
Silky Lomatia Lomatia fraseri Other names: Tree Lomatia, Forest Lomatia
This species prefers habitats at higher altitudes and under ideal conditions will reach a height of 8m. It is found within or on the margins of cool- and warm temperate rainforests and other wet tall forests (Photo 1). Bark is brown in colour with a firm and finely rough texture (2). The fruit is a woody follicle up to 3 cm long which changes colour from green to black at full maturity. It splits at one side only to release numerous winged seeds. The distinctive remnant flower style at the apex of the follicle is a typical feature for members of the Protea Family (Proteaceae) (3 & 4). The simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; up to 12 cm long, lanceolate to elliptic in shape with very varied margins from nearly entire to shallow or deeply serrated and also deeply lobed (pinnatisect), dark green, hairless above, silky hairy beneath (first greenish white changing to rusty brown with age), strong and stiff in texture. The yellowish brown coloured petiole is up to 25mm long. Distribution: Vic., NSW and southern Qld (Springbrook Plateau). See Leaf Characteristics Page for explanations of botanical definitions used.
Silky Myrtle Decaspermum humile
Under favourable conditions this small to medium sized tree species reaches a height of up to 25m. It has wide distribution range and occurs in habitats ranging from subtropical rainforests to drier environments (Photo 1). Bark is mid to dark brown in colour with a firm texture and prominent longitudinal fissures (2). The fruit is a globose berry, which measures up to 5 mm in diameter and turns dark purple to black in colour when fully ripe (3). Leaves feature a neat opposite arrangement and are; up to 7 cm long, incurved, broadly ovate in shape with entire margins, dark green, glossy on top, paler green, glossy beneath, hairless, smooth and soft in texture. Leaf apex shape is short acuminate ending in a fine point, base shape is rounded. Petiole is rather short at up to 5 mm long and grooved on top. Mid vein is slightly raised on both surfaces, otherwise venation is faint. Leaves emit a pleasant fruity smell with a hint of nutmeg when crushed (4 & 5). Distribution: From NSW central coast to northern Qld and south-east Asia. See also Grey Myrtle Backhousia myrtifolia (Page 6) and Rose Myrtle Archirhodomyrtus beckleri (This Page). See Leaf Characteristics Page for explanations of botanical definitions used.
Silky Persimmon Diospyros mabacea Other names: Red-fruited Ebony
This small to medium sized subtropical rainforest tree species is rare due to its very limited distribution range and diminishing habitat (Photo 1). The dark trunk is a prominent characteristic in identification. Bark is dark nearly black or dark grey in colour, tough and fissured in texture (2). One to five small white flowers are held on short stalks emerging from axillary joints. They are cylindrical in shape and bloom in late winter to spring (3). Branchlets are hairy and grow in a zigzag shape. Simple leaves with a regularly spaced alternate arrangement are; up to 16 cm long, mainly elliptic to oblanceolate in shape with entire margins, dark green, glossy on top, paler green below, smooth and firm in texture. Apex is rounded with a blunt point, base shape is attenuate. Mid-vein is raised on both leaf surfaces. Growing buds are finely hairy (Photos 4 & 5). Distribution: Growing naturally only in the Tweed River Valley of NSW. See Flower Characteristics Page and Leaf Characteristics Page for information on terms used.
Slender Harpullia Harpullia rhyticarpa
This attractive tall shrub reaches a height of 4-5m and belongs to a genus of shrubs and trees commonly known as Tulipwoods. The Slender Harpullia inhabits lowland and upland tropical rainforests and as an understorey species prefers sheltered conditions under a protective canopy of taller trees (Image 1). Bark is grey and firm in texture (2). The fruit (a capsule) is typical for the genus and reaches a length of 2.5cm. It is pear-shaped, yellow or orange in colour and consists of 2 separate lobes (segments), each containing a single black seed that is covered in a bright yellow aril (skin). The persisting calyx (flower base) is visible at the base of the fruit (3). The pinnate compound leaf consists of up to 12 leaflets, which are; up to 18cm long, elliptical with entire margins, hairless, dark green, glossy on top, paler green beneath and firm in texture (4 & 5). Distribution: Northern Qld. Locate related species under the genus Harpullia on the Botanical Species List.