Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Canarium australianum F.Muell. var. australianum

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flowers. © R.L. Barrett
Leaves and Flowers. © CSIRO
Leaves and flowers. © R.L. Barrett
Leaves and fruit. © CSIRO
Fruit. © R.L. Barrett
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Sleumer, H.O. (1955) Blumea 8: 189.

Common name

Canarium; Island White Beech; Mango Bark; Melville Island White Beech; Scrub Turpentine; Brown Cudgerie


Exudate slow and meagre, generally clear but turning brown on exposure. Blaze odour sometimes resembling that of mango (Mangifera indica) or turpentine.


Stipules long and peg-like, about 0.5-1.3 x 0.1 cm, visible on younger twigs. Leaflet blades about 6-19 x 3-8 cm. Leaflet stalks produce a milky exudate. Midrib and main lateral veins raised on the upper surface of the leaf blade. Compound leaf rhachis swollen at the point of attachment of the lateral leaflets.


Inflorescence about 8-30 cm long. Petals about 5-6 mm long.


Fruits about 20-30 mm long. Cotyledons 3-lobed.


Cotyledons trifoliolate, petiole hairy. First pair of leaves toothed. At the tenth leaf stage: stem thickened; terminal bud, stem, petiole and rhachis clothed in pale, tortuous hairs; stipules linear, hairy. Seed germination time 117 to 392 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Widespread in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ and CEQ. Altitudinal range from sea level to 500 m. Often grows in open forest but also found in monsoon forest and on rain forest margins. Also occurs in New Guinea.

Natural History & Notes

Three varieties are recognised in northern Australia:
1. var. glabrum - lower surface of leaf glabrous
2. var. australianum - lower surface of leaf with appressed hairs
3. var. velutinum - lower surface of leaf with velutinous (more or less erect) hairs.

Sonzaya australiana (F.Muell.) Marchand, Adansonia 8: 64(1867). Canarium australianum F.Muell., Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae 3: 15(1862), Type: In vicinia aestuarii fluminis Burdekin; Fitzalan. In Sweers Island et Bentink Island; Henne. Canarium australasicum Benth., Flora Australiensis 1: 377(1863).
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