Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Alphitonia oblata A.R.Bean

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Flower and buds. © Barry Jago
Leaves and Flowers. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO

Bean, A.R. (2010) Muelleria 28(1): 13. Type: Queensland. North Kennedy: Bruce Highway, 10.5 km NNE of Tully, 30 December 1992, A.R.Bean 5324 (holotype BRI; isotypes K, MEL).

Common name

Hairy Sarsaparilla Ash; Sarsaparilla; Philippine Sarsaparilla


Tree 6-15 m. Faint liniment odour in the blaze.


Leaf blades about 8-20 x 2.5-5.5 cm, almost white on the underside. Freshly broken twigs emit a faint or strong liniment odour. Stipules long and narrow, approx. 6-10 x 1 mm tapering to a fine point. Terminal buds and young shoots densely clothed in short, brown hairs.


Flowers pale green, about 4-5 mm diam. Stamens enveloped in the petals. Disk surface corrugated. Style not exceeding the dense clump of hairs at the centre of the disk.


Fruits about 13-17 mm diam. Mesocarp powdery at maturity. Seeds flexibly attached to the receptacle.


Cotyledons about 9-11 mm long. First pair of leaves toothed. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade white on the underside from matted, downy hairs; stem and petiole clothed in erect, straight hairs; stipules linear, hairy. Seed germination time 14 to 183 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards to south-eastern Queensland. Altitudinal range from sea level to 300 m. Grows in well developed lowland rain forest. This species is favoured by disturbance and is a characteristic component of rain forest regrowth in lowland areas. Also occurs in Malesia.

Natural History & Notes

In Australia the name Alphitonia incana has previously been misapplied to this species.

Alphitonia incana (Roxb.) Teijsm. & Binn. ex Kurz, The Journal of Botany 11 : 208(1873), Type: Mame misapplied to Australian material. Alphitonia moluccana Teijsm. & Binn. ex Braid, Bulletin of Miscellaneous Information, Kew : 184(1925), Type: Moluccas (Indonesia), 1868, J. E. Teijsmann s.n.; holo: K. Fide K. Rhamnus incana Roxb., Fl. Ind. 2: 350(1824), Type: Calcutta Botanic Gardens (Cult.), W. Roxburgh; iso: K, BR(?). Alphitonia sp. Kimberley (B.Hyland 25117RFK): Phrase name.
RFK Code
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