Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Austromatthaea elegans L.S.Sm.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Flowers. CC-BY J.L. Dowe
Leaves and fruit. © CSIRO
Fruit, cross section and seed. © W. T. Cooper
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, hypogeal germination. © CSIRO

Smith, L.S. (1969) Contributions from the Queensland Herbarium 6: 6. Type: Queensland. Several miles NW of Kuranda, on Forest Res. 1073, Smith 10847 (holo: BRI.078528); Iso: CANB, MEL,K, NSW.


Flowers and fruits as a shrub 2-6 m tall.


Leaf blades about 11-20 x 2-4 cm, margins usually toothed, often somewhat irregularly, about 10-30 teeth on each side, petioles about 0.5-0.9 cm long. Lateral veins form distinct loops inside the leaf blade. Terminal buds clothed in pale yellowish-brown hairs. Oak grain in the twigs.


Inflorescence axillary but appears to be terminal. Perianth lobes thick and fleshy. Receptacle +/- flat-topped at or shortly after anthesis. Stamens 28-36, filaments about 0.1 mm long, anthers sessile, about 2.3 mm long. Carpels about 200, surrounded by and clothed in straight, pale yellowish brown hairs.


Fruiting carpels numerous, about 20 but maybe as high as 45, normally borne on a yellowish-orange receptacle, carpels glabrous, ellipsoid or obovoid, about 10-15 mm long. Seed about 9-12 mm long. Embryo about 5-7 mm long. Cotyledons about 4-6 mm long, linear, slightly wider than the radicle. Cotyledons sometimes unequal in size with the larger one +/- enveloping the smaller one.


First pair of true leaves opposite, margins toothed. Seedling clothed in erect golden hairs. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade +/- ovate, apex acute, base obtuse, hairy on both the upper and lower surfaces, lateral veins forming distinct loops inside the blade margin. Seed germination time 52 to 126 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to NEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 1000 m. Grows as an understory plant in well developed, undisturbed, lowland, upland and mountain rain forest.

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