Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Abutilon indicum var. australiense Hochr. ex Britten

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flower and immature fruit. © R.L. Barrett
Flower. © R.L. Barrett
Flower. © R.L. Barrett
Leaves and flowers. © R.L. Barrett
Habit. © R.L. Barrett
Fruit. © R.L. Barrett
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Britten, J. (1900) Illustrations of the Botany of Captain Cook's Voyage Round the World 1: 10. Type: Queensland, Syntypes: Bustard Bay, Bay of Inlets, Endeavours River, Banks & Solander; syn: BM?.

Common name

Indian lantern flower


Usually flowers and fruits as a shrub about 1 m tall.


Leaf blades cordate, about 3-12 x 2.5-11 cm, petioles about as long as the leaf blades. Upper surface of the leaf blade clothed in short stellate hairs to almost glabrous. Stipules filiform, about 4-5 mm long.


Pedicels (or perhaps more correctly the pedicel + peduncle) long and slender, about 9-12 cm long. Flowers large, about 55-60 mm diam. when fully open. Both the inner and outer surfaces of the calyx clothed in stellate hairs, those on the inner surface being longer. Staminal filaments fused to form a tube surrounding the ovary and style. Ovary about 14-17-locular, densely clothed in white or pale-coloured stellate (?) hairs.


Pedicels (or perhaps more correctly the pedicel + peduncle) long and slender, about 12-14 cm. Fruits about 14-17-lobed, about 15-16 x 16-18 mm, outer surface densely clothed in long pale-coloured stellate hairs. Seeds reniform or obscurely boot-shaped, about 2-3 mm diam. Testa surface +/- smooth.


Cotyledons cordate, about 9-11 x 10-12 mm, petioles about 12-15 mm long. First pair of leaves cordate, leaf blade margin toothed. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade cordate, margin toothed, both the upper and lower surfaces clothed in short stellate hairs, particularly on the underside. Petiole about as long as the leaf blades. Stipules linear, about 5-7 x 0.5 mm. Stem densely clothed in short stellate hairs and scattered long slender hairs. Seed germination time 27 to 62 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ and CEQ. Altitudinal range very small, from near sea level to 200 m. Grows as an understory plant in monsoon forest, beach forest and vine thickets. May also occur outside Australia.

Natural History & Notes

Treated as Abutilon albescens in Qld.

Abutilon indicum var. australiense Hochr., Annuare du Conservatoire & du Jardin Botaniques de Geneve 6 : 20(1902), Type: Australia, Fort Darwin (R. Schomburgh, n. 232).
RFK Code
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