Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Celastrus subspicatus Hook.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Dehiscing fruit. © W. T. Cooper
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Vine stem transverse section. © CSIRO

Hooker, W.J. (1841) Hooker's Icones Plantarum 5 : t. 48. Type: Cultivated at Kew; holo: K. Fide N. S. Lander & L. A. S. Johnson, Telopea 1: 35, 37 (1975).

Common name

Large-leaf Staff Vine; White Vine; Large Staff Vine; Vine, Large Staff; Vine, Large-Leaf Staff


Usually grows as a tree-top vine but can flower and fruit when at the shrub stage. Vine stem diameters to 4 cm recorded. Sapwood surface somewhat corrugated. A thin orange layer generally visible beneath the dead bark. Vascular rays not particularly obvious in the wood in stem cross sections.


Stipules linear, very fine, about 1.5-2.5 mm long. Leaf blades about 5-14 x 2-7 cm, petioles about 0.4-1 cm long, channelled on the upper surface. Lateral veins curving but not forming definite loops inside the blade margin. Twig bark marked by numerous elongated, pale-coloured lenticels.


Sepals about 0.7 mm long. Petals about 2-2.8 x 1.6 mm. Staminal filaments fused near the base forming a ring around the ovary. Staminodes of the female flowers similar to the stamens in the male flower but smaller. Ovules 2 per locule. Style about 1-1.2 mm long. Stigma globular, +/- 5-lobed.


Fruits yellow to orange when ripe, about 5-9.5 x 5-9 mm long. Seeds about 1-6, angular, about 4.5-6 mm long, completely enclosed by the aril. Cotyledons green.


Cotyledons about 17-22 x 11-17 mm, petiole short, about 1 mm long. First pair of leaves with toothed margins. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves with teeth on the margins but only in the apical half. Stipules about 1.5 mm long. Pale lenticels visible on the stem. Seed germination time 99 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to Australia, occurs in NEQ, CEQ and southwards as far as coastal central New South Wales. Altitudinal range in NEQ from 300-800 m. Grows in a variety of rain forests but is more commonly encountered in the drier, more marginal rain forest types often associated with Kauri Pine (Agathis robusta).

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