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Crispiloba disperma



Botanical Name

Crispiloba disperma (S.Moore) Steenis

Steenis, C.G.G.J. van (1984) Blumea 29: 393. Type: ?.


Randia disperma S. Moore, J. Bot. 55: 305(1917), Type: Queensland, Bellenden Ker Range, L. S. Gibbs 6307; holo: BM.

Common name



Usually flowers and fruits as a sprawling shrub up to 4 m tall but also flowers and fruits when much smaller.


Leaves, if whorled, in whorls of three or four. Petioles about 3-15 mm long, grooved on the upper surface, leaf blades about 5-20 x 2-5 cm. Lateral veins difficult to see on either the upper or lower surfaces of the leaf blade.


Flowers pseudo-terminal rather than strictly terminal. Flowers strongly but pleasantly perfumed. Calyx tube about 2-3 mm long, very shortly 5-toothed at the apex. Corolla lobes about 3 cm long, with margins fimbriate, midrib visible. Corolla tube about 2.5-4.5 cm long, hairy on the inner surface but glabrous on the outer surface. Brown dots and striations usually visible on the inner surface of the corolla tube. Anthers +/- sessile, pollen yellow. Style about 5-6 cm long. Stigma terminal, +/- umbonate.


Fruit obovoid to ellipsoid, about 15-20 x 10-15 mm. Seeds about 8 x 5 x 3 mm, testa two-layered, the inner one thin and brown and the outer black with radial fibres. Embryo less than 0.5 mm long.


Cotyledons 3 (?), broadly spathulate, about 10 x 6 mm, margins sparsely toothed, First pair of leaves shortly petiolate. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves shortly petiolate, apex mucronate, base attenuate, lateral veins not apparent. Cataphylls intermingled with the true leaves. Petioles somewhat decurrent on the stems. Dark reddish brown hairs usually visible in the leaf axils.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to NEQ. Altitudinal range from 100-1250 m. Grows as an understory shrub in well developed upland and mountain rain forest, often found growing on soils derived from granite.

Natural History

Sometimes forms dense thicket of plants and suckers in the understory. Originally this species was described as a Randia disperma C.T. White. This meant that a competent and experienced taxonomist like C.T. White had placed the specimen in the wrong family. There is a message here for all taxonomists but we may also find solace in the fact that perhaps our own mistakes may be forgiven.



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


RFK Code