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Gyrocarpus americanus

Family

Hernandiaceae

Botanical Name

Gyrocarpus americanus Jacq.

Jacquin, N.J. von (1763) Selectarum Stirpium Americanarum Historia: 282. Type: Colombia, Cartagena, N. Jacquin. Holo: BM. Fide Kubitzki (1969).

Synonyms

Gyrocarpus americanus Jacq. subsp. americanus, Botanische Jahbucher 89: 183(1969), Type: ?. Gyrocarpus americanus subsp. sphenopterus (R.Br.) Kubitzki, Botanische Jahrbucher 89: 185(1969), Type: Queensland, Carpenraria region, R. Brown 4468. Holo: BM. Iso: E, NY, P. Fide Kubitzki (1969). Gyrocarpus sphenopterus R.Br., Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae: 405(1810), Type: Northern Territory, Arnhem Bay, R.Brown 4468. Holo: Bm. Iso: E, NY. Gyrocarpus acuminatus Meisn., Prodromus 15(1): 248(1864), Type: Ad Port Denison, Novae Holl. (Ferd. Mueller!). Holo: G-DC. Iso: NY. Fide Kubitzki (1969). Gyrocarpus jacquinii Gaertn., De Fructibus et Seminibus Plantarum 2: 92(1791), Type: E collectione sem. Banksiana. Gyrocarpus americanus subsp. pachyphyllus Kubitzki, Botanische Jahrbucher 89: 185(1969), Type: Australien. W.-Australien. Broome: HOCHREUTINER 2831 (G; L, Typus ...). Gyrocarpus rugosus R.Br., Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae: 405(1810), Type: Northern Territory, Arnhem Bay, R.Brown 4468. Holo: Bm. Iso: E, NY. Fide Kubitzki (1969). Gyrocarpus asiaticus Willd., Species Plantarum 4(2): 982(1806), Type: Habitat in India orientali.

Common name

Coolamon Tree; Gyro Damson; Helicopter Tree; Shitwood; Twirly Whirly Tree

Stem

Deciduous; leafless for quite long periods between June and October. Bark rather shiny brown. Blaze odour noticeable but difficult to describe.

Leaves

Width of the leaf blades approximating or exceeding the length. Leaf blades about 7-24 x 4-21 cm. Petioles about 4-19.5 cm long. Hairs normally visible with a lens on the upper surface.

Flowers

Most flowers male with only occasional hermaphrodite flowers. Male flowers: Flowers very small, about 2-3 mm diam. Tepals triangular, small, about 0.75-1 mm long. Perianth tube about 1 mm long. Anther filaments very hairy, about 1-1.25 mm long, anthers about 1 mm long. Hermaphrodite flowers: Style + stigma about 2 mm long. Style sigmoid. Stigma capitate.

Fruit

Fruits usually 2-winged, each wing +/- spathulate, about 50-70 x 9-14 mm. Cotyledons much folded. Endosperm scanty.

Seedlings

Cotyledons papilionate, about 20-35 x 40-50 mm, hairy on the upper surface, 3-5 veined. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade triangular or cordate, usually with one large lobe or tooth each side of the midrib, hairy on the upper surface, densely hairy on the undersurface; petiole hairy; taproot and stem swollen, carrot-like (Daucus carota).

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ and southwards to coastal central Queensland. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 900 m. Grows in monsoon forest, dry scrub and open forest. Pantropic, also occurs in Africa, Asia, the Pacific and Central America.

Natural History

This species may have medicinal properties. (http://squid2.laughingsquid.net/hosts/herbweb.com /herbage/A12548.htm)

This plant used medicinally by Aborigines. Cribb (1981).

WA

X

NT

X

CYP

X

NEQ

X

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

X

Tree

X

RFK Code

794