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Polyalthia nitidissima

Family

Annonaceae

Botanical Name

Polyalthia nitidissima (Dunal) Benth.

Bentham, G. (1863) Flora Australiensis 1: 51. Type: ?.

Synonyms

Unona nitidissima Dunal, Monographie de la Famille des Anonac~Pes: 93(1817), Type: Hab. in Nove Caledonie. (v.s. L. Deless.).

Common name

Beech, Canary; Polyalthia; Pine, China; Canary Beech; Shiny Leaf Tree; China Pine

Stem

Subrhytidome layer dark, sometimes almost black. Fibrous stripes in the inner blaze form a lace-like pattern corresponding to the fine oak grain in the wood.

Leaves

Leaf blades about 6-10 x 2.5-4 cm. Oil dots visible with a lens. Twig bark strong and fibrous when stripped. Lenticels usually obvious on the twigs. Young shoots clothed in prostrate brown silky hairs. Domatia, if present, are tufts of hairs.

Flowers

Calyx lobes triangular to almost cordate, about 2.5 mm long. Inner and outer petals of similar dimensions, about 15 x 4-5 mm. Stamens about 30. Ovaries about 6-8.

Fruit

Fruiting carpels ellipsoid, about 8-10 x 6-9 mm, on a stalk about 2-4 mm long. Seeds about 6-7 x 5-6 mm, one per fruiting carpel. Embryo minute.

Seedlings

Cotyledons elliptic, 13-18 mm long. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves ovate, apex acute, base obtuse, upper surface hairy at least on the midrib and main lateral veins; petiole, stem and terminal bud clothed in tortuous pale hairs.

Distribution and Ecology

A widespread species in NT, CYP and NEQ and southwards to north-eastern New South Wales. Altitudinal range in northern Australia from near sea level to 800 m. Usually grows in drier rain forest. Also occurs in New Caledonia and New Guinea.

Natural History

Food plant for the larval stages of the Green Spotted Triangle, Pale Green Triangle and the Green Triangle Butterflies. Common & Waterhouse (1981); Sankowsky & Neilsen (2000).

Seldom grows large enough to produce millable logs. Produces a useful general purpose timber.

Wood specific gravity 0.54. Cause et al. (1989).

NT

X

CYP

X

NEQ

X

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

X

Tree

X

RFK Code

264