Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Alyxia ilicifolia F.Muell.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Leaf and flowers. © Australian Plant Image Index (APII). Photographer: M. Fagg.
Fruit, side view, cross section, seed. © W. T. Cooper
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, durian germination. © CSIRO

Mueller, F.J.H. von (1864) Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae 4: 149. Type: Queensland, Rockingham Bay, 14 Apr. 1864, J. Dallachy 74; lecto: MEL. Fide P. I. Forster (1992).

Common name

Chain Fruit; Holly, Native; Native Holly


Usually flowers and fruits as a shrub 2-3 m tall but occasionally grows to about 5 m.


Twigs and petioles produce a milky exudate. Leaves in whorls of three or four. Leaf blades variable in size, up to 15 x 5 cm, petioles short, about 0.2 cm long. Lateral veins about 45-50 on each side of the midrib. Margins of the leaf blades +/- thickened.


Flowers about 8-12 mm diam. Sepals about 1.5-5.5 mm long, glabrous. Corolla tube about 6.5-10 mm long, glabrous on the outer surface, sparsely pubescent about the throat on the inner surface, lobes about 3-7 mm long. Anthers about 1-1.5 x 0.4-0.5 mm, filaments about 0.3-0.4 mm long. Ovary hairy at least towards the apex and could be classed as syncarpous or apocarpous. Stigma hairy, mitriform.


Fruit sometimes moniliform. Fruiting carpels or beads, about 11-23 x 6-12 mm. Style persistent at the apex. Seed longitudinally ribbed on the outer surface. Embryo almost as long as the seed. Cotyledons long and narrow, longer than the radicle.


Stem and hypocotyl clothed in short, stiff, prickle-like hairs. First pair of leaves with toothed margins, holly-like (Ilex aquifolium). At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade about 40 x 20 mm, sessile, stiff, apex subulate, midrib depressed on the upper surface. Margin undulate and with 7-10 rigid, pungent, holly-like teeth on each side of the leaf blade. Venation almost perpendicular to the midrib. Leaves, twigs and petioles produce a milky exudate. Seed germination time 136 to 201 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to Queensland, occurs in NEQ. Altitudinal range from 600-1300 m. Grows as an understory plant in well developed upland and mountain rain forest often on soils derived from granite.

Alyxia ilicifolia F.Muell. subsp. ilicifolia, Australian Systematic Botany 5(5): 568(1992). Gynopogon ilicifolius (F.Muell.) K.Schum., Die Naturlichen Pflanzenfamilien 4(2) : 151(1895). Pulassarium ilicifolium (F.Muell.) Kuntze, Revisio Generum Plantarum 2: 417(1891).
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