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Diospyros hebecarpa



Botanical Name

Diospyros hebecarpa Benth.

Bentham, G. (1868) Flora Australiensis 4: 286. Type: Queensland. Cape York, W. Hill; N.E. coast, A. Cunningham..

Common name

Scrub Ebony; Ebony, Scrub; Tulican


Subrhytidome layer almost black. Inner blaze and cambial layer darken markedly on exposure.


Leaf blade much paler on the underside. Leaf blades about 11.5-13.5 x 4.5-5 cm, petioles about 0.5-0.6 cm long. Oil dots visible with a lens. Scattered, slightly sunken glands generally visible on the underside of the leaf blade. Lateral veins forming a rather untidy double set of loops well inside the blade margin.


Male flowers: Pleasantly perfumed. Outer surface of the calyx and corolla mainly glabrous, sometimes very sparsely pubescent in parts. Calyx scarcely lobed at the apex. Stamens 12, fused in pairs in two whorls. Female flowers: Calyx lobes thick and fleshy, broad at the base and abruptly constricted into an acuminate apex. Corolla thick and fleshy. Staminodes attached to the corolla. Ovary clothed in fine white or pale coloured hairs. Ovary divided into 8 locules. Ovules 1 per locule.


Fruits seated on a 3 or 4-lobed, reflexed calyx. Calyx mainly glabrous on the outer surface, inner surface (forming the seat for the fruit) densely clothed in prostrate hairs. Fruits sericeous or clothed in prostrate hairs before maturity. Fruits globular, about 30-40 mm diam. at maturity. Pericarp yellowish but turning dark brown when cut or handled, staining the observer's fingers and hands with a persistent brown colour. Seeds about 15 x 7 mm. Endosperm translucent, oily.


Cotyledons ovate to elliptic, about 30-35 x 20 mm. First pair of leaves narrowly obovate. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade elliptic to elliptic-obovate, glabrous on the upper surface but slightly hairy on the lower surface; midrib flush with or raised on the upper surface, lateral veins forming loops inside the blade margin. Roots almost black in colour.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, CYP, NEQ and southwards to coastal central Queensland. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 600 m. Grows in the drier types of rain forest and monsoon forest but most common in gallery forests of Cape York Peninsula. Also occurs in New Guinea. Superficially this species closely resembles D. ebenum Koenig which occurs as far west as Sri Lanka.







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




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