Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Breynia stipitata Mull.Arg.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Female flower. © Barry Jago
Flower. © R.L. Barrett
Flower. © R.L. Barrett
Leaves and fruit. © CSIRO
Leaves and fruit. © R.L. Barrett
Fruit. © R.L. Barrett
Fruit, three views and cross section. © W. T. Cooper
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, Epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Mueller Argoviensis, J. (1866) Prodromus 15: 442. Type: In Sweers Island Novae Hollandiae (Henne! ex specim. a cl. Ferd. Muell. miss. in hb. DC.

Common name

Apple, Dwarf's; Fart Bush; Dwarf's Apple; Breynia; Coffee Bush


Seldom exceeding 30 cm dbh.


Leaves distichous, leaf blades about 4-9 x 2.5-5 cm. Crushed leaves emit an obnoxious odour. Stipules fairly small, tapering to a fine point. About 4-8 main lateral veins on each side of the midrib.


Flowers small, less than 3 mm diam. at anthesis.


Fruits globular to depressed globular, about 7-10 mm diam., on pedicels about 3-5 mm long. Seeds about 4-5 mm long. Testa pale, surface smooth.


Cotyledons elliptic, about 8-13 x 3-5 mm. All leaves after 1st or 2nd pair of leaves are produced on lateral shoots and resemble compound leaves. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade ovate to elliptic, apex acute, base cuneate; stipules triangular, about 0.5 mm long.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to Australia (?), occurs in NT, CYP and NEQ, widespread. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 800 m. This is a regrowth species which is favoured by disturbance. Grows in disturbed areas in well developed rain forest.

Natural History & Notes

Food plant for the larval stages of the Common Grass Yellow Butterfly. Common & Waterhouse (1981).

This shrub contains methyl mercaptan, a substance with a particularly disagreeable odour. Cribb (1981).

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