Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Atalaya australiana Leenh.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage. © CSIRO

Leenhouts, P.W. (1965) Blumea 13(1): 126.


Usually grows as a small or medium-sized tree to 20 m but also flowers and fruits as a shrub. Bark corky.


Twigs and petioles clothed in short simple hairs. Compound leaves with about 2-8 leaflets. Leaflet blades about 10-14 x 4-7 cm, leaflet stalks about 3-10 mm long. Lateral veins about 9-12 on each side of the midrib.


Sepals about 2-4 x 2 mm, slightly hairy on the outer surface. Petals about 4-5 x 1-2 mm, outer surface clothed in prostrate hairs, inner surface with two scale-like appendages near the base. Stamens eight, filaments about 0.2-1 mm long, anthers about 0.9-1.2 x 0.5 mm. Disk surrounding the base of the ovary and outside the stamens. Style about 0.2-0.5 mm long.


Fruits usually distinctly 3-winged (or less by abortion). Each complete wing + basal seed part about 25 x 6 mm. Seeds about 6 x 5.5 mm, testa soft and leathery. Cotyledons as large as the seed. Radicle about 2 mm long, much smaller than the cotyledons.


Cotyledons thick and wrinkled, about 10 mm long. First pair of leaves simple and opposite, margins smooth, lateral veins forming loops inside the blade margin. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf simple or compound, lateral veins forming loops inside the blade margin. Seed germination time 13 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Probably endemic to Australia, occurs in CYP and NEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 250 m. Grows in rain forest, monsoon forest, vine thickets and open grassland.

Sapindus australis Benth., Flora Australiensis 1: 464(1863), Type: Queensland. Cape York, Mgillivray.
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