Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Backhousia hughesii C.T.White

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

White, C.T. (1936) Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland 47: 61. Type: Daintree River, Apicos Hughes.

Common name

Stony Backhousia; Stonewood; Limewood; Grey Teak


Numerous cream or pale brown, narrow, brittle stripes in the blaze. Blaze odour like that of freshly shelled peanuts (Arachis hypogaea). Scars on the stem often produce a grey coloured sap which sets into hard cement-like material which may be incorporated into the wood.


Oil dots very numerous and closely spaced. Leaf blades about 65-100 x 25-45 mm. Midrib depressed on the upper surface and petiole channelled on the upper surface. Young twigs often 4-angled and square in transverse section.


Inflorescence umbellate. Petals about 3-4 mm long. Anthers about 0.3-0.4 mm long.


Fruits about 3-4 mm diam., excluding the calyx lobes.


Cotyledons truncate at the base, about 5 mm or less wide, oil dots small. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade elliptic, apex acute to obtuse. Seed germination time 14 to 17 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to NEQ, restricted to the area between Rossville and Innisfail. Altitudinal range from sea level to 1100 m. Grows in well developed rain forest on a variety of sites and is often associated with Kauri Pine (Agathis robusta).

Natural History & Notes

Produces a useful general purpose building timber. Trees of this species when wounded produce an exudate which hardens to form a grey stony mass. Hence the name Stonewood. These stones can be produced inside the tree and were the subject of numerous profane comments from timber cutters who encountered them with a freshly sharpened chain saw.

Wood specific gravity 0.77. Cause et al. (1989).

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