Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Beilschmiedia obtusifolia (F.Muell. ex Meisn.) F.Muell.

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Leaves and fruit. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, hypogeal germination. © CSIRO

Mueller, F.J.H. von (1883) Systematic Census of Australian Plants : 3.

Common name

Walnut, Blush; Tormenta; Sassafras; Queensland Sassafras; Nutwood; Hard Bollygum; Bollygum, Hard; Black Walnut; Blush Walnut; Walnut, Black


White granular stripes and hard granular speckles often visible in the outer blaze. Narrow pale brown brittle stripes may be visible in the inner blaze. A thin cream or pale brown layer generally visible beneath the subrhytidome layer before the first section of the outer blaze.


Twigs terete, clothed in straight, pale brown, appressed hairs when young but glabrous when older. Leaf blades about 7-17 x 2-6 cm, green and glabrous on the underside, clothed in straight, white or pale brown, appressed hairs, only when very young. Midrib raised or flush with the upper surface. Petioles flat or channelled on the upper surface. Oil dots visible with a lens. Older twigs with numerous pale, circular or elongated lenticels.


Tepals about 1.1-1.7 mm. Stamens nine. Staminodes three, each differentiated into a head and filament. Ovary glabrous, +/- sessile.


Fruits about 18-24 x 11-15 mm. Cotyledons cream.


At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade green on the underside; oil dots small, visible only with a lens. Seed germination time 20 to 63 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards to coastal central New South Wales. Altitudinal range in CYP and NEQ from near sea level to 800 m. Grows in well developed lowland and upland rain forest and also in drier rain forest. This species is a characteristic tree of the gallery forest along the creeks and rivers of Cape York Peninsula. The fruit of this species is an important food source for the fruit eating birds of the area particularly Torresian Imperial-Pigeons (Ducula bicolor). Also occurs in New Guinea.

Natural History & Notes

Fruit of this species form a large part of the diet of Fruit Pigeons when in season.

This species produces millable logs, a useful general purpose timber, the timber is marketed as Ivory Walnut. Wood specific gravity 0.75-0.85. Hyland (1989).

Nesodaphne obtusifolia (Meisn.) Benth., Flora Australiensis 5: 299(1870). Cryptocarya obtusifolia Meisn., Prodromus 15(1): 508(1864), Type: Clarence River, F. Mueller (probably H. Beckler), holo: H. Beckler 18, G-DC; iso: MEL. Cryptocarya glaucescens var. reticulata Meisn., Prodromus 15(1): 73(1864), Type: New South Wales, near Sydney, C. Moore 5, holo: K.
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