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Nauclea orientalis

Family

Rubiaceae

Botanical Name

Nauclea orientalis (L.) L.

Linnaeus, C. von (1763) Species Plantarum ed. 2: 243. Type: ?.

Synonyms

Cephalanthus orientalis L., Species Plantarum ed. 1: 95(1753), Type: Lecto: Plate 338 in Hermanns Herbarium, BM. Fide Merrill (1915).

Common name

Cheesewood; Canary Cheesewood; Cape York Leichardt; Leichardt; Leichhardt Pine; Leichhardt Tree; Leichhardt's Pine; Pine, Leichhardt's; Soft Leichhardt; Yellow Cheesewood; Burr Tree; Canary-wood

Stem

Deciduous; leafless for a period in August or September. Dead bark orange to yellow when cut.

Leaves

Leaves generally rather large, leaf blades about 15-30 x 10-18 cm. Stipules large and conspicuous, about 1-3.5 cm long, apex obtuse. Red glands, resembling insect eggs, attached to the inner surface of each stipule near the base.

Flowers

Calyx tubes fused to one another to form a perfectly spherical head of flowers. Corolla tube longer than the lobes, corolla lobes about 2-3 mm long. Anthers +/- sessile, attached to the apex of the corolla tube. Style and stigma white, stigma +/- cylindrical or bullet-shaped.

Fruit

Fruits about 4-5 cm diam., outer surface reticulately rugose. Seeds small, about 1.5-2 mm long, very numerous in each fruit. Testa finely reticulate.

Seedlings

Cotyledons ovate, about 3-4 mm long. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade elliptic, glabrous; stipules interpetiolar, large, foliaceous, conspicuous, oblong to obovate, apex obtuse.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ and southwards to coastal central and south-eastern Queensland. Altitudinal range from sea level to 450 m. A characteristic tree of the gallery forests in northern Australia, but also grows in lowland rain forest particularly in swampy situations. Also occurs in Asia and Malesia.

Natural History

Fallen fruit eaten by Cassowaries. Cooper & Cooper (1994).

A useful carving timber (Swain (1928).

A large spreading and shady tree that is often cultivated. Flowers are in large ball-like heads and are strongly perfumed.

An infusion of the barks causes vomiting, and was used by north Queensland Aborigines to treat 'sore belly' and sometimes snakebite; at Bloomfield River, a decoction of the bark was used externally as an application for rheumatic pains. Cribb (1981).

Produces a useful, moderately durable, general purpose timber.

Wood specific gravity 0.56. Cause et al. (1989).

WA

X

NT

X

CYP

X

NEQ

X

Tree

X

RFK Code

256