Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Antidesma ghaesembilla Gaertn.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Female flowers [not vouchered]. © G. Sankowsky
Male flowers. © R.L. Barrett
Leaves and fruit. CC-BY Australian Tropical Herbarium
Fruit. © R.L. Barrett
Leaves, fruit and bark. © R.L. Barrett
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, Epigeal germination. © CSIRO

Gaertner, J. (1788) De Fructibus et Seminibus Plantarum 1: 189. Type: Ghaesembilla zeylon. E collect. sem. hort. lugdb.

Common name

Black Currant Tree; Onjam; Koontjir; Dempool; Blackcurrant


Often short-boled and poorly formed. Bark dark in colour. Often flowering and fruiting as a shrub.


Leaf blades about 4-6 x 2-3.5 cm. Lateral veins curving but not forming very distinct loops inside the blade margin. Twig lenticels pale. Stipules filiform, pubescent. Domatia are tufts of hair.


Male and female flowers about 1 mm diam. Disk pubescent in both male and female flowers.


Fruits small, about 4-5 mm long. Persistent calyx not disk-like.


Cotyledons elliptic, about 8 x 5 mm. At the tenth leaf stage: petioles hairy; stipules filiform, 1-2 mm long, hairy. Seed germination time 28 to 29 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP and NEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 600 m. Grows in gallery forest, monsoon forest and closed forest often on heavy soils subject to water-logging during the wet season. Also occurs in Asia and Malesia.

Natural History & Notes

The rather acid fruits are eaten by children. Corner (1988).

Antidesma ghaesembilla var. genuinum Mull.Arg., Prodromus 15(2.: 251(1866). Antidesma ghaesembilla Gaertn. var. ghaesembilla, Prodromus 15(2.: 251(1866). Antidesma schultzii Benth., Flora Australiensis 6: 86(1873), Type: N. Australia. Port Darwin, Schultz, n. 610, 743.
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