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Halfordia scleroxyla



Botanical Name

Halfordia scleroxyla F.Muell.

Mueller, F.J.H. von (1869) Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae 7: 142. Type: In silvis ad sinum marinum Rockinghams Bay, ubi etiam Hamamelid planta me tantum fructu visa forsan ad Corylopsin referenda occurrit; J. Dallachy.

Common name

Kerosenewood; Saffronheart; Kerosene Tree; Jitta; Ghittoe; Greenwood; Kerosine Wood


Heartwood very hard and oily, thin slivers burn even when green.


Oil dots very numerous and conspicuous. Leaf blades about 5-14 x 2.1-6 cm. Lateral veins forming a series of loops well inside the margin, midrib green, somewhat raised on the upper surface. Leaves crowded towards the ends of the twigs. Leaf blade emitting a strong odour when crushed.


Sepals about 0.8-1 mm long. Petals about 4.5-5 mm long. Stamens ten, dimorphic, five long and five short, filaments flattened, margins hairy. Anthers with a gland and a tuft of hair at the apex. Disk green.


Fruits about 10-12 x 10-12 mm. Calyx persistent.


Cotyledons oblong, +/- 15 mm long. Oil dots small, numerous about the margins. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade obovate, apex obtuse, base attenuate, glabrous on the upper surface; oil dots small, visible with a lens.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to Queensland, occurs in CYP and NEQ. Altitudinal range from 500-1300 m. Grows in well developed upland and mountain rain forest.

Natural History

This species produces a very oily, pale coloured, hard and durable timber. Old logs and branches last for many years on the forest floor and are a real prize for anyone trying to boil the billy in wet weather. The timber of living trees will burn fairly readily if it is cut into fire chips or kindling and will serve as firewood in desperate situations.

Fruit eaten by Cassowaries and other species of birds. Cooper & Cooper (1994).

Food plant for the larval stages of the Capaneus Butterfly. Common & Waterhouse (1981).

When wood of this species is used in toothpicks it is reputed to have the potential of causing trouble with the gums of people using it. ( UTA.html)

Wood specific gravity 1.10 Cause et al. (1989).





Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)




RFK Code