Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Bubbia semecarpoides (F.Muell.) B.L.Burtt

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flowers. CC-BY J.L. Dowe
Leaves and fruit. © CSIRO
Fruit, side views, cross section and seeds. © W. T. Cooper
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO

Burtt, B.L. (1936) Hooker's Icones Plantarum ser. 5 4(1): t3315.

Common name

Australian Pepper Tree; Winter Beech; Winterwood


Seldom grows beyond 30 cm dbh. Blaze odour resembling pine (Pinus spp.) resin or sharp and conspicuous, almost nauseating. Oak grain in the wood.


Oil dots visible with a lens. Leaf blades about 13-27 x 3-7 cm, almost white on the underside, emitting an odour like that of oil of wintergreen when crushed. Oak grain in the twigs.


Inflorescence about 4-6 cm long, shorter than the leaves. Calyx lobes variable in size and shape, about 1-1.5 mm long. Petals +/- linear, about 10-12 mm long. Stamens about 30, anthers sessile or on short, swollen filaments. Ovaries about 5-10. Stigma linear, sessile.


Fruits (fruiting carpels) globular or obovoid, about 12-15 mm diam. Seeds +/- obovoid, about 4-5 x 3 mm. Embryo up to 0.5 mm long. Cotyledons no wider than the radicle.


Cotyledons orbicular, about 10-16 mm diam., almost white on the underside. Oil dots small, visible with a lens. Hypocotyl longitudinally striated. First pair of leaves glabrous, obovate, almost white on the underside. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves obovate or oblanceolate, apex acute or obtuse, base attenuate, glabrous with numerous raised glands along the midrib and main lateral veins, underside glaucous, almost white; petiole glabrous. Midrib depressed on the upper surface. Crushed leaves emit an odour like that of pepper (Piper indica). Three vascular traces visible in transverse sections of petioles. Seed germination time 140 to 154 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to Queensland, occurs in CYP, NEQ and CEQ. Altitudinal range from 150-1200 m. Grows as an understory tree in well developed rain forest on a variety of sites.

Natural History & Notes

Stem bark material of this species was active against some tumors. Collins et al. (1990).

Zygogynum semecarpoides (F.Muell.) Vink var. semecarpoides, Blumea 31: 54(1986). Bubbia semecarpoides (F.Muell.) B.L.Burtt var. semecarpoides, Blumea 28: 324(1983). Zygogynum semecarpoides (F.Muell.) Vink, Blumea 31: 54(1986). Drimys semecarpoides F.Muell., The Victorian Naturalist 8: 15(1891), Type: On Russells Creek; W. Sayer.
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