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Vegetative features in identification of a native tree or shrub can be divided into a number of categories. They include; leaf, flower, fruit, bark characteristics and the size, shape and form, collectively called the habit of the plant. Comprehensive information on leaf features, bark texture and distribution range are given for each native tree species. The content of the web page below is constantly extended, revised and updated. We aim to build up the awareness to the high conservation values Australian rainforest areas deserve. Species in the following genera are listed in groups on our web pages: Australian Fig trees (Ficus spp.), Australian Eucalypts (Eucalyptus spp.), Grevilleas (Grevillea spp.) and Syzygium species (Lilly Pillies). Otherwise all native Australian tree species are listed in alphabetical order.
Narrow-leaved Geebung Persoonia virgata Other names: Small-leaved Geebung, Wallum Geebung
This woody and multi-branching shrub rarely exceeds a height of more than 4m. Its preferred habitat includes open dry forests and heath lands in the proximity to the coastline. Geebungs belong to the large and distinctive genus of Persoonia, which has a wide distribution range covering every state of Australia. Persoonia species occur in diverse environments ranging from rainforests to arid regions (1). Fresh bark is a reddish brown in colour and becomes rough and fissured on older stems (2). The fleshy fruit, a drupe, is very characteristic for the genus and features the persisting hardened flower style at the apex, which is also typical for members of the Protea family (PROTEACEAE). The mature fruit of this species turns a yellowish green and is circa 1.5cm long at full maturity. The skin covers a translucent fruit flesh that becomes very sticky on exposure to air (3 & 4). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement (when matrue) are; up to 5cm long, narrow linear in shape, hairless when mature, dark green, semi-glossy on top, paler beneath, strong and somewhat rigid in texture. Leaf apex terminates in a fine tip. Distribution: Central-coast of NSW to Qld.
See the Botanical Species List to locate other Persoonia species (Geebungs) on this website.
Narrow-leaved Orangebark Maytenus silvestris
This native shrub or small tree is found in moist tall forests adjacent to rainforests and in dryer open forests dominated by Eucalyptus species (Picture 1). Freshly exposed bark is an orange-brown changing to a grey brown colour with age and has a firm texture (2). Small greenish white flowers measure around 4 to 5 mm in diameter with five broadly rounded petals. They are held on individual flower stalks or small racemes (3). The fruit (a capsule) is ovoid in shape and up to 7 mm in length, turning orange in colour when ripe (fruit shown is still immature). The remaining flower calyx at the base and the persistent style at the top of the fruit make good identification characteristics (4). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; up to 8 cm long, narrow at less than 15 mm wide, mostly lanceolate in shape, showing entire margins towards the base but often with a few spines towards the apex, dark green on top, hairless, rather thick and stiff in texture. Leaf apex shape is acute, base shape is cuneate. Venation is fine but visible and the short petiole is only 2-3 mm in long. Distribution: NSW south coast to Qld.
Note: This species intergrades with the Orange Bark Maytenus bilocularis (same page), where both species share a habitat. See Flower Characteristics Page and Leaf Characteristics Page for information on terms used.
How to recognise Australian tree families and genera.
A practical field guide to the identification of native species. More than 200 full colour photographs and detailed descriptions explaining leaf, bark, flower, fruit and other tree characteristics.
New Holland Publishers
Format: Paperback with PVC
Pages: 128 pp.
Size: 13 cm wide x 18 cm high
Narrow-leaved Wattle Acaia linearifolia
This tall shrub or small tree reaches up to 10m in height and becomes very noticeable due to its beautiful bright yellow flower display appearing over winter and early spring (Picture 1). Bark on branches and trunk is relatively smooth, but can be rough at the base of older trees, it is greyish brown in colour with a firm texture (2). Up to 20 globose (rounded) flower heads measuring less than 1 cm in diameter are arranged along an axis up to 8 cm long (racemose) (3). Narrow phyllodes with an alternate arrangement are; up to 14 cm long, 15 mm to 40 mm wide, mostly straight or slightly curved, hairless, strong and stiff in texture. The phyllode apex shape is acute showing a fine, offset tip (mucro), and towards the base a definitive swelling (gland) is visible. The centre vein is obvious, but no laterals are visible (4 & 5). Distribution: NSW central tablelands and western slopes, but grown elsewhere as an ornamental and naturalising outside its original habitat. Note: Very similar to the Cascade Wattle A.adunca
Native Cascarilla Croton verreauxii Other names: Green Native Cascarilla
This attractive shrub or small tree is a common occurrence along the margins of different rainforest types and in wet open forests. When receiving ample sunlight it can attain a height of 10m or more, but as an understorey species it is more likely to be multi-stemmed shrub less than 5m high (Picture 1). Bark on older trunks is mid to dark brown in colour and becomes fissured and somewhat scaly (2). Small flowers are held along short racemes up to 6 cm long, which appear at the very end of young branches over the summer months. They are yellowish green in colour with 5 pointed sepals and prominent stamens being the main features (3). The rounded fruit, a capsule with 3 separate lobes (segments), reaches up to 6 mm across and changes from green to a yellow brown when fully mature. It is covered in short, very fine hair and contains a single, cream coloured seed in each lobe (4). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are: up to 14 cm long, lanceolate or elliptic in shape with finely toothed margins, hairless, dark green, very glossy on top, lighter green, also glossy beneath, soft and smooth in texture. Leaf apex is mostly acute ending in a rounded tip, base shape varies from cuneate to more rounded. The slender petiole (leaf stalk) can grow to 5 cm in length and features 2 clearly visible glands on small stalks at the joint with the leaf blade. Venation is more visible on lower leaf surface (5). Distribution: From NSW south coast to southern Qld. See Flower Characteristics Page and Leaf Characteristics Page for information on terms used.
Native Crepe Myrtle Lagerstroemia archeriana Other names: Queensland Crepe Myrtle
This handsome shrub or small tree is native to Australia’s top end and closely related to the exotic Crepe Myrtle Lagerstroemia indica, which’s cultivars are widely used in landscaping. It not only occurs in rainforests but also in drier locations and is deciduous for a period from late winter into spring (1). On older trunks the outer bark weathers to grey and sheds in thin papery layers to reveal a new pinkish brown layer (2). Gorgeous flowers can be mauve, dark pink or purple in colour and measure about 4 cm in diameter. They feature a prominent calyx with 5 pointed sepals which can be bright red in colour. The five stalked petals have a crinkled surface and reach up to 16 mm in length (3). The fruit (a capsule) is hard in texture and black in colour at full maturity. It is seated in the remaining calyx and splits lengthwise to disperse brown coloured and winged seeds from multiple valves (segments) (4). Simple leaves with an opposite arrangement (sometimes slightly offset) are; up to 16 cm long, ovate or broadly lanceolate in shape with entire margins, dark green, hairless on top, yellowish brown hairy beneath and strong in texture. Leaf apex gradually tapers into a fine tip, base is rounded (obtuse) or broadly wedge-shaped (cuneate). The stout petiole (leaf stalk) is less than 1 cm long. Distribution: Tropical WA, NT and Qld.
Native Frangipani Hymenosporum flavum
The Native Frangipani is medium sized tree species reaching a height of up to 20m within subtropical, warm temperate rainforests and adjacent sclerophyll forests (Picture 1). Bark on mature specimens is brown in colour with the weathered top layer turning grey; texture is hard and furrowed (2). Superb flowers are white in colour when opening changing to a bright yellow with maturity and are arranged in small panicles. Scented flowers reach up to 5 cm in diameter and bloom over spring (3). The fruit is a flattened capsule, which is brown in colour, hairy on the outside, up to 4 cm long and contains numerous winged seeds (4). Simple leaves appear in a whorl of up to 4 leaves below the growing bud and turn alternate when mature. They are; up to 15 cm long, obovate to oblanceolate in shape with entire margins, dark green and glossy on top, paler green below, soft, thin, smooth and hairless. Leaves on juvenile trees and new growth on mature specimens are hairy. Apex is short acuminate, base shape is attenuate. Mid vein and laterals are slightly impressed on upper leaf surface and raised below. Distribution: NSW south coast to Qld. The species is often planted as an ornamental tree for its attractive flowers.
Native Gardenia Atractocarpus benthamianus
On fertile soils this handsome tall shrub or small tree grows to a height of up to 12 m. It is found as an understorey species within warm temperate and subtropical rainforests up to an altitude of a 1000m (Picture 1). Bark is a reddish, light brown in colour with a firm but flaky texture (2). White scented flowers appear in late winter to early spring within the glossy foliage (3). Up to 6 flower buds and 4 to 5 emerging leaves are enclosed in a stipule, being two jointed sheaves covered in very fine hair (4). Simple leaves are arranged either in a whorl beneath the growing bud or alternate. They are; up to 18 cm long, oblanceolate to elliptic in shape with entire margins, thin and soft to touch. Leaf apex is short acuminate, base shape is attenuate. Lower leaf surface features a prominent centre vein covered in fine hair and domatia as small cavities with hairy bristles are visible along it (5). Distribution: NSW mid-north coast to southern Qld. See Leaf Characteristics Page for explanations of terms used.
Native Guava Rhodomyrtus psidioides
This small to medium sized tree species can attain 20m or more in height and develops a dense canopy creating deep shade (Picture 1). Here a multi stemmed trunk is featuring a scaly grey, pink to pale brown coloured bark. The growth habit of the Native Guava is more straight and upright when competing for available sunlight within subtropical rainforests (Pictures 1 & 2). Flowers measure up to 15 mm in diameter and feature 5 white petals and numerous stamens topped by bright yellow anthers. They are held in small racemes and bloom over the summer months (3). The fleshy fruit, resembling a small guava in shape, is yellowish green in colour and reaches 25 mm in length. It is a berry by classification and contains numerous small seeds (4). Growing buds and young branches are covered in fine hair. Leaf arrangement is opposite. Simple leaves are; up to 12 cm long, lanceolate to elliptic in shape with entire margins, dark green, glossy on top, paler beneath and emit a fruity smell when crushed. Leaf apex is acute, base shape is rounded. Mid vein is raised and yellowish on lower surface (5). Distribution: From central coast of NSW to central Qld.
Native Hydrangea Abrophyllum ornans
The healthy specimen shown is growing in disturbed littoral (close to the beach) rainforest, where normally this species is more common as an understorey species within subtropical and warm temperate rainforests. It is an upright shrub or small tree reaching less than 10 m in height and prefers moist location in gullies and along creek banks (Image 1). Bark is grey to light olive/brown in colour and has a firm texture with rounded blisters showing on the surface (2). The attractive fruit is a rounded berry measuring up to 8 mm in diameter and turns a dark purple/black when fully ripe. It is held on panicles towards the end of younger branches and ripens over autumn and winter (3). Leaves with an alternate arrangement are only retained towards the end of branches. They are; up to 20 cm long, oblanceolate to more elliptic in shape, dark green, glossy on top, lighter green, sparsely hairy beneath, thin and soft in texture. Margins show fine irregular spaced teeth with callous (hard) tips which are more likely to be present towards the apex. Leaf apex is acuminate ending in a fine point, base shape is attenuate. The mid rib and lateral veins are sunken on the upper surface, strongly raised and slightly hairy on the lower surface. The strong and finely hairy petiole is up to 5 cm long (4 & 5). Distribution: From NSW south coast to northern Qld. Note: Similar in appearance to Cuttsia Cuttsia viburnea (See Page 3).
Native Nutmeg Myristica globosa Other names: Queensland Nutmeg
Depending on location this small to medium sized tree can attain heights of up to 25m. As an understorey species under a dense rainforest canopy it may only reach a height of 15m (Image 1). Bark is light to mid-brown in colour and rough in texture due to small irregular ridges running horizontal and vertically (2). A single fruit or small clusters of up to 4 fruits ripen in late winter to early spring (3). The fruit (a capsule) splits lengthwise to reveal a single black seed when fully ripe, which is covered in a fleshy, bright red coloured and lace-like aril emitting a strong nutmeg scent. The capsule is up to 3 cm long, orange/brown in colour when fully ripe and covered in fine, woolly hair (4). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; up to 20 cm long, elliptical to slightly obovate in shape with entire margins, dark green on top, pale whitish green below, hairless, smooth and firm in texture. Leaf apex is acute ending in a blunt tip, base shape is cuneate. Venation is prominent on both surfaces with up to 20 pairs of laterals turning more yellowish brown on older leaves (5). Distribution: Tropical Qld, NT & WA.
Native Olive Olea paniculata
This small to medium sized tree species grows to a height of 25m and occurs in different types of rainforests (Image 1). Bark is grey brown in colour and covered in small whitish blisters, which is a useful identification feature (2). The fruit resembles the shape of an olive and changes from green to bluish black with age. It is a small drupe up to 12 mm long. A thin layer of fruit flesh encloses the hard pale brown seed (Photos 3 & 4). Simple leaves with an opposite arrangement are; up to 8 cm long, broad elliptic or ovate in shape with entire margins, hairless, smooth and soft in texture. Leaf apex is acute or short acuminate with a fine point, base shape is rounded. Domatia as swellings along the centre vein are very conspicuous on both leaf surfaces (5). Distribution: NSW central coast to central Qld.
Native Rosella Hibiscus heterophyllus
The Native Rosella is a shrub or small tree less than 10m tall, which prefers a drier environment with good light conditions on margins of rainforests or within tall open forests and regrowth (Picture 1). Bark on mature trees is a grey brown in colour and rough but missing the sharp and stout prickles found on the trunks of young specimens having a green coloured bark (2). The striking flowers are up to 8 cm in diameter and start blossoming in early spring through to autumn. They feature five white petals with pink fringes and a dark crimson red centre (3). Sharp prickles cover branches, young stems and petioles (leaf stalks). Flower buds, stalks and young shoots are finely white hairy. Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; up to 15 cm long with finely toothed margins, varied in shape from the deeply three lobed leaf shown in picture 5 to long elliptic or lanceolate, fairly firm and rough in texture. Leaf or lobe apex is acute, base shape is rounded. Venation is clearly visible on both surfaces with main veins being sometimes slightly hairy and showing a few small prickles (4&5). Distribution: NSW central coast to Qld. Identification: Similar to Pink Hibiscus Hibiscus splendens listed on this page below.
See Flower Characteristics Page and Leaf Characteristics Page for information on terms used.
Native Tamarind Diploglottis australis
The dark green foliage concentrating towards the end of branches give this species its characteristic appearance. It is found in subtropical and warm temperate rainforests and often appears as regrowth due to extensive spreading of its abundant seed by a range of birds (Image 1 & 2). Bark is firm, mostly smooth in texture and dark grey in colour (white coating is due to lichen growth) (3). The fruit turns from a yellow to an orange-brown colour when ripe and is eagerly sought by rainforest bird species. It is a hairy capsule with 2 or 3 pronounced lobes each containing a brown seed covered in a fleshy orange coloured aril (4). The large compound leaf can reach more than 1m in length and features up to 16 large leaflets. Leaflets are; up to 30 cm long, mainly oblong in shape with entire margins, dark green on top, paler green hairy beneath, strong and dry in texture. Leaflet base shape is often asymmetric (5). Distribution: from the south coast of NSW to central Qld. (See Leaf Characteristics Page for explanations of definitions used.)
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Needle Shaggy Pea Podolobium aciculiferum
This upright shrub can reach 3 to 4m in height and is common occurrence in Eucalypt dominated forests ranging from the coastline to higher altitudes. As the common name implies it is covered in thin needle-like spines making it relatively easy to identify (1). Trunks and older branches of mature plants lose their spines and bark becomes finely rough with a granular texture. Bark colour on old growth is brown (2). Bright yellow or more orange coloured flowers are characteristic for the pea bean family (Fabaceae) and measure about 1 cm in diameter. They are either borne individually on long, curved stalks or on short racemes appearing along young branches, and bloom over spring and summer (3). At first small pods are light green in colour and covered in whitish hair, but become hairless and darker green when fully mature. They reach about 1 cm in length and contain between 2 to 4 cream coloured seeds (4).Young branches are light green in colour, covered in fine, white hair and pairs of sharp spines. Simple leaves vary between an opposite (more likely) and an alternate arrangement. They are; up to 2.5 cm long (including needle tip), broadly lanceolate to ovate in shape with fine crenate margins, dark green, semi-glossy, hairless on top, paler green, sparsely hairy beneath, strong, stiff and slightly rough in texture. Leaf apex is acute ending in a needle-like tip; base is broadly wedge-shaped (5). Distribution: From NSW south coast to central Qld. Note: Similar in appearance to the Prickly Shaggy-pea (Podolobium ilicifolium), which has lobed leaves.
Newry Golden Wattle Acacia chrysotricha
This elegant native tree species with a very small distribution range can reach a height of 15m and occurs in open tall forests (Picture 1). Bark is dark brown in colour, firm and rather smooth with shallow longitudinal fissures (2). New emerging foliage is a bright yellow green with a fern like appearance (3). Sprays of golden yellow flowers are held on long racemes and bloom for a short time in mid winter (4). Bipinnate compound leaves with an alternate arrangement feature up to 15 pinnae holding more than 20 leaflets each, which are; very small only up to 4 mm long, oblong in shape, soft and finely hairy (5). Distribution: Kalang River Catchment on the NSW mid-north coast.
Noah's Tamarind Lepiderema hirsuta
The stunning palm-like foliage flushing in pink and salmon colours is a standout feature of this small tree. It has a small distribution range as an understorey species within tropical up- and lowland rainforests. It is a member of the Sapindaceae family which includes Tuckeroos, Whitewoods and Tamarinds (Picture 1). Bark is firm and finely rough; olive brown coloured on younger growth, becoming paler on older trunks (2). Masses of small pinkish flowers are borne along straight racemes up to 20 cm long which emerge from the full length of the trunk. Individual flowers measure less than 5 mm in diameter when fully opened, exposing 8 stamens with stout white filaments topped by yellow anthers (3). Large pinnate compound leaves feature strong leaf stalks that are covered in rusty brown hair (4). They consist of up to 40 leaflets which are; up to 20 cm long, narrow lanceolate or elliptic in shape with undulating margins, dark green above, only slightly paler beneath, mostly hairless when mature, firm and rather rigid in texture. The short petiolule (leaflet stalk) has swollen a base and the prominent centre vein is raised on both surfaces (5). Distribution: Far North Qld.
Norfolk Island Pine Araucaria heterophylla
The natural distribution of this stately tree is restricted to Norfolk Island, but it is a common ornamental tree planted along Australia's foreshore and in many other parts of the world. The distinctive symmetrical shape (habit) and impressive height of more than 50m makes identification of this species relatively easy (1). Bark on older specimen is very rough, flaky in texture and grey-brown in colour (2). The male cone develops at the very end of branchlets and reaches up to 10 cm in length (3). The female cone disintegrates on the tree and the fallen individual cone scales, containing the edible seed, can be collected beneath the tree. The seed, shown in the middle of the image, measures about 4 cm in length. Leaves of mature trees are arranged in a whorl formation. They are; claw-like in shape, up to 10 mm long, hard and prickly to touch (5). Distribution: Norfolk Island, about 1400 km east of the New South Wales north coast. Note: Closely related to the Hoop Pine A.cunninghamii (Page 7) and the Bunja Pine A.bidwillii (Page 2), all conifers but not true pine trees.
To locate trees by botanical name or to find related species go to:Species List Botanical, which also shows all family names.
Northern Acradenia Acradenia euodiiformis Other names: Bonewood
Under ideal conditions this species is a medium sized tree reaching a height of up to 25m. The specimen shown is standing on rich volcanic soil within (cool) subtropical rainforest beneath Black Booyong Argyrodendron actinophyllum. The trunks of older specimens show some fluting and minor buttress roots (Picture 1 & 2). Bark is cream in colour, rather soft and spongy in texture with corky blisters and ridges on the surface of older specimens (2). Small white flowers are borne on panicles up to 25 cm long. Individual flowers with 5 petals are about 5 mm long, bloom over spring and are nicely scented (3). Groups of up to 5 fruits that are yellowish green in colour have ribs on the outer surface and share a common stalk. The fruit is a capsule at up to 10 mm long and 6-8 mm across containing a flattened light brown seed (4). Palmate compound leaves are made up of 3 leaflets (rarely 2 or 5) which are; up to 20 cm long, mostly elliptic in shape with entire and wavy margins, dark green and glossy on top, light green and shiny beneath with a smooth and slightly leathery texture. Leaflet apex is acuminate ending in a rounded point; base shape is cuneate (5). Distribution: NSW mid-north coast to southern Qld. See Flower Identification and Leaf Identification Page for information on terms used.
Northern Guioa Guioa acutifolia Other names: Glossy Tamarind, Sharp Leaf Guioa
This small or sometimes medium sized tree can grow to a height of 20m or more when occurring in open forests. Occurring as an understorey species within tropical and subtropical rainforests it is more likely to be smaller with dark green, glossy and dense foliage supported by an often crooked trunk (Picture 1). Bark is grey in colour and smooth in texture, becoming rougher and somewhat scaly on older specimens (2). Small individual flowers a held on racemes measuring more than 20 cm in length or long panicles with 1 or 2 low branching divisions. Flowers emit a sweet scent and bloom over late winter into spring (3). The quick maturing fruit is a capsule with 2 or 3 prominent flattened lobes up to 1 cm long. It will change from green to a yellow colour when fully ripe (4). Compound leaves consist of up to 8 separate leaflets, which are; up to 17 cm long, elliptic to more lanceolate in shape with entire margins, hairless, dark green, glossy on top, paler whitish green beneath, relatively thin and soft in texture. Leaflet apex is acute ending in a fine tip, base shape is cuneate. Short leaflet stalk (petiolule) is swollen and brown in colour. Mid rib is strongly raised on lower leaflet surface, other venation is fine but clearly visible. There is one pronounced domatium visible from both surfaces along the centre vein towards the base of the leaflet (5). Distribution: From southern to northern Qld.
Northern White Lilly Pilly Acronychia laevis Other names: Glossy Acronychia
Different types of rainforests are the habitat of this small tree species attaining a height of up to 15 m found (Picture 1). Bark has got a fairly smooth texture with some fine fissuring and is a grey brown in colour (2). Attractive cream and yellow flowers reach up to 2 cm in diameter and are followed by vivid coloured fruit, which changes from magenta to a blue mauve tone when fully ripe (Pictures 3 & 4). Simple (1-foliate) leaves with an opposite arrangement (or slightly offset) are; up to 8 cm long, mostly obovate in shape with entire margins, hairless, very glossy on both surfaces, smooth, firm in texture and emit a pleasant scent when crushed. Leaf apex is rounded or notched (emarginate), base is wedge-shaped (cuneate). The length of the leaf stalk varies from a few millimetres to 2 cm and shows a noticeable swelling at the joint with the leaf blade. Fine reticulate venation is visible on both surfaces. Distribution: From northern NSW to north Qld (5).
Odour Bush Mallotus claoxyloides Other names: Green Kamala, Smell-Of-The-Bush
This large native shrub or small tree less than 10m tall originates in subtropical and drier forms of rainforests (Image 1). Bark is a green to grey in colour, hard with corky blisters and fine fissures (2).The Odour Bush is strongly scented especially when flowering and can be smelled from a distance (3). Clusters of highly perfumed small yellow flowers bloom in late autumn on the NSW north coast (4). Simple leaves with an opposite arrangement are; up to 16 cm long, mostly broad elliptic in shape with irregularly toothed or sometimes nearly entire margins, medium thick and soft to the touch. Upper leaf surface is mid green in colour with few hairs showing, lower surface is densely covered in whitish fine, short hair. Apex is acute with a blunt or rounded point. Venation is clearly visible and raised on lower surface (5). See Leaf Characteristics Page for explanations of terms used.
Oliver's Sassafras Cinnamomun oliveri Other names: Camphorwood
This tree species is a member of the Laurel (LAURACEAE) family growing in different types of rainforests along Australia's east coast. Under ideal condition it can attain a height of 30m (Photo 1). Bark is strongly scented, firm and greyish in colour (2). Simple leaves with an opposite arrangement (or slightly off-set) are: up to 16 cm long, lance-shaped (lanceolate) with entire wavy margins, firm leathery in texture, and emit a strong camphor smell when crushed. Leaf apex is acuminate ending in a fine tip, base is wedge-shaped (Photos 3,4 & 5). Distribution: From NSW south-coast to northern Qld.
Orange Bark Maytenus bilocularis
This species has the ability to reach the height of a small tree, but is more likely to be a shrub less than half that size. It occurs as an understorey species on the margins of different rainforests types and within wet tall forests (1). The outer bark is thin papery and weathers to grey brown, whereas fresh bark is orange to reddish brown in colour (2). Up to 5 small flowers are held on small racemes appearing towards the end of young branches. They are cream and pale green coloured, and measure only 3 to 5 mm across (3). The fruit is an ovoid (pear-shaped) capsule 3 to 6 mm long, which turns from green to yellow at maturity. It splits into 2 valves (segments) to release black seeds covered in a thin orange aril (4). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; up to 7 cm long, elliptic in shape with up to 7 prickly teeth on either side, glossy, dark green above, paler beneath, hairless, stiff and strong in texture. Mid rib, lateral and net veins are clearly visible on both surfaces (5). Distribution: NSW mid-north coast to Qld. Note: This species hybridises with the Narrow-leaved Orange Bark Maytenus silvestris (top of page) where species share a habitat.
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Phillip Island Hibiscus Hibiscus insularis
This sturdy shrub is probably the rarest of more than 30 different Hibiscus species native to Australia. It is an endangered plant only occurring on uninhabited Phillip Island, which is part of the Norfolk Island group, and has a subtropical climate (Picture 1). Bark on older stems is grey brown in colour and has a flaky surface texture (2). Large gorgeous flowers measure 8 cm or more in diameter and feature 5 petals, cream white with green hues at first changing to a reddish colour with maturity. In the centre a ring of crowded stamens with pink filaments and orange anthers surrounds 5 prominent styles (3). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are: only up to 5 cm long, ovate (egg-shaped) with lobed margins, glossy dark green on top, dull pale green beneath, hairless and soft in texture. Leaf apex is acute ending in a blunt tip, base shape is obtuse (rounded). Palmate venation is clearly visible on both leaf surfaces (4 & 5). Distribution: Phillip Island, Norfolk Island group (not Phillip Island off Victoria). Worthwhile growing, plants are available from online nurseries.
Pine Mountain Corkwood Erythrina numerosa Other names: Pine Mountain Coral Tree
This medium sized and deciduous native tree species grows in drier types of forests and attains a height of 25m (Picture 1). The trunks' diameter is large when compared to the height of the tree and features sharp and strong spines (2). Bark for the exceptions of scattered corky blisters is fairly smooth, rather firm and a light greenish grey in colour (3). Compound leaves are alternately arranged and mostly clustered towards the end of branches and consist of three leaflets (trifoliate), which are; up to 10 cm long, 12 cm wide, triangular in shape with entire or shallow lobed margins, mid green, semi glossy on top, paler beneath, hairless (except for new growth) fairly thin and soft in texture. Apex is acute and base shape is cordate. The strong petiole is up to 15 cm long, petiolules are up to 4 cm in length (4 & 5). Distribution: From NSW north coast to northern Qld.
Pink Ash Alphitonia petriei Other names: Soap Tree, Pink Almond, White Ash, Whiteleaf, Red Ash
Probably due to its extensive distribution range this tree is known by a number of common names including Red Ash, which is also used for its close relative Alphitonia excelsa (See Page 9). It is a medium sized tree that is best developed in tropical rainforests (shown) where it can reach 30m or more (1). Bark on the trunk of older trees is grey brown in colour with a rough texture showing fissures and grooves (2). Large numbers of individual flowers are borne on panicles appearing towards the end of young branches. The image shows flower buds before opening (3). Branchlets are covered in rusty brown hair and caused by decurrent (extending) leaf stalks have a ribbed appearance (4). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; up to 17cm long, ovate or oblong in shape with entire margins, hairless, dark green, glossy on top, densely whitish hairy beneath, rather thick but soft in texture. Leaf apex ends in a fine tip. Venation on the lower leaf surface is very distinctive by being raised and reddish brown in colour. Petiole (leaf stalk) is up to 20mm long and the same colour as the midrib (5). Distribution: Northern NSW to northern Qld and NT.
Pink Euodia Melicope elleryana Other names: Pink Doughwood
This adaptable species is found in a range of different habitats ranging from rainforests and stream banks to drier locations. When competing for light this species may reach a height of 20m, whereas free standing specimens are more compact and smaller with foliage reaching the ground (Picture 1 & 2). Bark is a light grey in colour; fairly spongy and soft with longitudinal ridges on older specimens (3). Fruit hanging in small bunches are capsules up to 8 mm across, turning a dark blue to black colour when ripe (4). Palmate compound leaves with an opposite arrangement are made up of three leaflets (trifoliate) which are; up to 16 cm long, broad elliptic or more ovate in shape with entire margins, dark green, glossy on top, hairless or slightly hairy, semi-glossy beneath, very smooth and soft in texture. Leaflet apex is acuminate, base is broadly wedge-shaped (5). Distribution: From NSW north coast to northern Qld, NT & WA.
See also White Euodia Melicope micrococca (Page 7).
Pink Hibiscus Hibiscus splendens Other names: Pink Cottonwood
Under good light condition the Pink Hibiscus is a single stemmed and multi-branched shrub growing to a height of 4m, whereas in shady positions it will have a more straggly appearance (Picture 1). Bark on the trunk is firm and a reddish brown in colour, rough but missing the sharp and stout prickles of younger branches (2). Stunning flowers, which will last a week or more and close up overnight, are white with pink fringes at first then turning pink all over with maturity. They are up to 8 cm in diameter and bloom in spring with the centre being a dark crimson red (3). Alternately arranged simple leaves are; up to 18 cm long with finely toothed margins, varied in shape from deeply lobed to elliptic or lanceolate, whitish hairy on both surfaces with a rough texture. Leaf or lobe apex is acute, base shape is rounded. Petiole (leaf stalk) is up to 6 cm long, hairy and can feature the odd prickle (4). Veins are raised on lower leaf surface with main veins being hairy and rarely showing small prickles(5). Distribution: NSW central coast to Qld. In identification this species differs from the Native Rosella Hibiscus heterophyllum (same page, above) by featuring less prickles on leaves and petiole, being softer in texture and flowers being pink.
To locate trees by botanical name or to find related species go to:Species List Botanical, which also shows all family names.
Pink Laceflower Tree Archidendron grandiflorum Other names: Tulip Siris, Fairy Paint Brush
This small native tree occurs as an under-storey species within and on margins of subtropical and littoral (close to thecoast) rainforests, where it can reach a height of 10 to 15m. This species is rather uncommon in its natural habitat and individual or small groups of trees might only be found a fair distance apart. Encountering a mature specimen in full flower gives meaning to the name of Fairy Paint Brush (Picture 1). Young bark is brown in colour turning grey with age (white colouring is due to lichen), texture on older specimens becomes rough, furrowed and scaly (2). Grandiose flowers are protected by white to yellowish petals opening to reveal a multitude of white (at base) to dark pink (at top) stamens, which are up to 5 cm long and topped by yellowish anthers. Flowers are short lasting and will deteriorate quickly when it rains, they are held in tight clusters of up to 6 individuals at the end of young branches. A pronounced green calyx is less than a 1 cm long and petals measure up to 2 cm in length (3). Large bipinnate compound leaves can feature up to 3 pairs of pinnea with 4 to 8 leaflets each, with leaflets increasing in size towards the end. They are; mostly between 3 to 8 cm long (sometimes longer), elliptic, wide lanceolate to ovate in shape with entire broadly undulating margins, mostly hairless, dark green and glossy on top with a thin, papery but strong texture. Leaflet apex is long acuminate, base shape is broadly cuneate to rounded. Noticeable upright glands at leaflet intersections and along rachis are a helpful identification feature (Pictures 4 & 5). Distribution: From to NSW mid-north coast to northern Qld. See also White Laceflower Tree Archidendron hendersonii Page 12.
Pink Walnut Endiandra sieberi Other Names: Hard Corkwood
This small to medium sized native tree is found mainly as an understorey species in different types of rainforests and more open forests (Picture 1). The bark despite the corky look it is rather firm in texture, grey with a pink hue in colour and with maturity develops deep furrows (2). Flowers held on long panicles are 5 to 7 mm in diameter and feature 6 white petals with a yellow and red centre (3). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; up to 10 cm in long, elongated elliptic in shape with entire margins, dark green, glossy on top, mid green and shiny beneath, hairless, smooth and rather leathery in texture. Leaf apex ends in a blunt point, base shape is cuneate. Mid vein is prominent white to pale yellow in colour and fine reticulate venation is visible on lower leaf surface. Distribution: NSW south coast to Qld.
Plum Myrtle Pilidiostigma glabrum
This attractive native shrub reaches a height of 4 to 5m and is found as an under-storey species within subtropical rainforests but also in dryer open forests and in proximity to the coast (Picture 1). The bark of the Plum Myrtle Pilidiostigma glabrum is distinctive with its scaly texture on older branches being a good identification feature. Bark on young stems is smooth in texture and a reddish (to purple) brown in colour (2). Single gorgeous white flowers can reach 2.5 cm in diameter and are held on stalks up to 2 cm long (3). The purple/black fruit measures up to 18mm in length and is topped by the remaining sepals of the flower (4). Simple leaves with an opposite arrangement are: up to 10 cm long, mostly elliptic in shape with entire margins, rather glossy and smooth on both sides. Leaf apex is short acuminate, base shape is cuneate. The mid-vein is pronounced whereas lateral and net veins are faint but do not extend to the leaf edge (5). Distribution: From the NSW mid-north coast to central Qld. Note: This native species is very suitable for suburban backyards. See Leaf Characteristics Page for explanations of terms used.
Poison Peach Trema tomentosa var. viridis Other names: Native Peach, Peach-leaved Poison Bush
This adaptable shrub or sometimes small tree has a very wide distribution range from temperate to tropical climates. It can reach up to 5m in height mostly on a single stem/trunk with an upright shape (Picture 1). Bark is grey to light brown in colour and has a firm and slightly rough texture due to numerous blisters (lenticels) covering the surface (2). Green/white coloured flowers are small only measuring a 3 to 4 mm in diameter and emerge from axillary buds on single stalks or in small cymes (3). The fruit (a drupe) changes from green to a glossy black in colour when fully ripe and is globose (globe shaped). It can reach up to 5 mm in diameter and contains a single hard seed (4). Simple leaves with a regular alternate arrangement are; up to 9 cm long, lanceolate or more ovate in shape with fine serrated margins, bristly hairy on both surfaces, thin, soft and rough in texture. Leaf apex is acute ending in a fine point, base shape is rounded. Venation is very noticeable, being three veined from the base and raised on the lower leaf surface. Distribution: From Vic. to northern Qld and in tropical Asia.
Port Jackson Cypress Pine Callitris rhomboidea Other names: Oyster Bay Pine, Port Jackson Pine
This native conifer has a wide distribution range and is adaptable to different environments occurring within and on margins of cooler rainforest types and in drier open forests. It is a shrub or small tree normally less than 10m in height with an attractive and dense canopy (Picture 1). Bark is brown in colour with older bark weathering to grey, deeply furrowed and rough in texture (2). The indehiscent cone (before opening) is dark, greyish brown in colour and measures about 2 cm across. When fully ripe it will harden to a woody consistency and split into 6 separate segments (valves) (3). The dark brown coloured seed is enclosed in a papery wing, which is up to 5 mm long and irregular in shape and size (4). Tiny scale-like leaves are only a few millimetres long and dark green sometimes bluish green in colour (5). Distribution: Tas, Vic, NSW & Qld.
Prickly Ash Orites excelsus Other names: Mountain Silky Oak
Found in mountain areas along the Great Dividing Range the Prickly Ash Orites excelsus can grow to a height of 40 m or more (Picture 1). Bark is a green grey colour on younger specimens changing to a more light brown with cream coloured patches when mature (2). The whitish grey colour of the lower leaf surface contrasts with the shiny, glossy upper leaf surface. Simple leaves are; up to 18 cm long on adult trees with prickly, irregular toothed margins, a stiff texture and mainly lanceolate in shape. Leaves on younger specimen are deeply lobed and up to 25 cm long (Pictures 3, 4 & 5). Distribution: From the mid-north coast of NSW to southern Qld.
Prickly Currant Bush Coprosma quadrifida Other names: Prickly Coprosma
This slender shrub is rather adaptable to different habitats ranging from cool temperate rainforests at high altitude to vine thickets in drier regions. It reaches a height of 4m and is easily identified by its sharp spines, tiny leaves and fruit resembling a currant (Picture 1). Bark is shades of brown in colour with a rather smooth texture (2). The growing tips of lateral branches are stiff and sharp (spinescent), and spines are also present on older branches (3). The fruit is a fleshy drupe up to 5mm long, which is rounded or more elongated (ovoid) in shape and turns bright red at full maturity. It is reported to be edible and ripens over autumn (4). Tiny leaves with an opposite arrangement are; from 2 to 10mm long, varied in shape, broadly elliptic or ovate with entire margins, dull green on top, paler beneath, rather thick and strong in texture. Venation is raised and more conspicuous on upper surface. Distribution: Tas., Vic. and NSW.
Python Tree Gossia bidwillii Other names: Ironwood
The Python Tree or Ironwood is a medium sized tree species reaching a height of up to 20m and occurs in a range of different forest types (Picture 1). The straight and often channelled trunk features a very ornamental bark, which is a good initial identification characteristic of this species. Irregular patches of bark change from a light green to a dark green and then turn a coppery brown in colour before shedding (2). Myrtle-like inflorescence is held on small but numerous racemes with up to 6 individual flowers each. They appear on young branchlets over spring and are pure white in colour (Pictures 3 & 4). Simple leaves with an opposite arrangement are; up to 10 cm long, ovate to broad elliptic in shape with entire and often undulating margins, hairless, dark green, rather glossy on upper surface, only slightly paler, shiny on lower surface, soft and polished in texture. Leaf apex is acute to short acuminate ending in a blunt or sometimes sharper point; base shape is mostly rounded. Petiole is strong and grooved on top ending in flattened nodes on young branches. Mid-vein is slightly raised on both surfaces, otherwise venation is faint (Pictures 4 & 5). Distribution: NSW central coast to Qld.
Quandong Elaeocarpus grahamii (No common name is recorded but Quandong is used)
This small to medium sized tree species is often multi-trunked with a well developed branch work starting at low heights. Its' natural habitat are tropical rainforests (Picture 1). Bark is grey or more olive green in colour, firm with a slightly rough texture due to fine vertical ridges (2). Flowers are very characteristic to the Elaeocarpus (Quandong) genus, they are; pure white in colour, scented, bell shaped with frilled petals and are about 15 mm long. They are held on very sticky racemes (3). The shiny blue fruit measures up to 12 mm in length and contains a single deeply grooved and woody seed (4). Simple alternately arranged leaves are; up to 15 cm long, obovate in shape with regularly toothed margins and soft in texture. Leaf apex is acute ending in a blunt point, base shape is rounded. Venation is prominent on both surfaces with the mid vein being slightly hairy. The strong petiole is about 4 cm long and covered in fine, brown hair, which is also evident on young stems (5). Distribution: Northern Qld.
Queensland Maple Flindersia brayleyana
The natural habitat of this tall tree is tropical low and upland rainforest, where it can reach a height of up to 40m. In the past this tree has been extensively logged for its very attractive and easily worked timber, but remaining stands are now protected within national parks (1). Bark on the column like trunk of mature specimens is shades of grey with patches of light brown in colour, firm and finely rough in texture due to fine fissures, and a covering of small blisters (lenticels) (2). The fruit, a hard elongated capsule splitting into 5 separate segments (valves), is typical for the genus Flindersia. Capsules up to 10 cm long are held on crowded drooping panicles. Each valve contains a number of flattened seeds surrounded by a translucent papery wing (3 & 4). The large pinnate compound leaf consists of up to 10 leaflets, which are; up to 20 cm long, elliptic or ovate in shape with undulating margins, dark green, glossy above, paler green beneath, smooth and strong in texture. Prominent leaflet stalks (petiolules) are up to 3 cm long and a yellowish colour. Distribution: Tropical North Qld.