Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Citronella smythii (F.Muell.) R.A.Howard

Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flower. © Barry Jago
Leaves and Flowers. © CSIRO
Flowers. © CSIRO
Fruit, two views and cross section. © W. T. Cooper
Leaves and fruit. © A. Ford & F. Goulter
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
1st leaf stage. © CSIRO

Howard, R.A. (1940) Journal of the Arnold Arboretum 21: 475.

Common name

Soapbox; Beech, Northern Silky; White Oak; Beech, Silky; Northern Silky Beech; Silky Beech; Oak, White


Seldom exceeding 45 cm dbh. Oak grain in the wood. Living bark layer quite thin.


Young shoots and twigs densely clothed in rusty or yellowish brown erect hairs. Leaf blades about 11-17 x 4-8.5 cm. Midrib depressed on the upper surface. Oak grain in the twigs.


Inflorescence usually a raceme of heads. Petals about 3-4.5 mm long. Ovary +/- glabrous. Usually one style developed but one or two vestigial styles usually visible. Stigma terminal, not much wider than the style and less than 1/4 of the diameter of the ovary.


Fruits 12-16 mm long. Seeds with a longitudinal groove formed by the intrusion of the endocarp.


Cotyledons ovate, about 39-45 x 30-38 mm, petioles hairy. First leaf blades ovate-elliptic, with both surfaces clothed in hairs. Hypocotyl clothed in hairs. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves hairy on the upper surface at least along the midrib and main lateral veins; terminal bud, stem, petiole and expanding leaves densely hairy. Seed germination time 12 to 181 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to Queensland, occurs in CYP (as far north as Mt Carter) and NEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 1200 m. Grows as an understory tree in well developed rain forest on a variety of sites.

Natural History & Notes

Fallen fruit eaten by Cassowaries. Cooper & Cooper (1994).

Chariessa smythii (F.Muell.) Becc., Malesia 1 : 118(1877). Villaresia smythii F.Muell., Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae 5: 156(1865), Type: Ad sinum Rockinghams Bay. Dallachy. Villaresia adenophylla Domin, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 604(1928), Type: Nord-Queensland: Regenwalder bei Harveys Creek (DOMIN I. 1910).
RFK Code
Copyright © CSIRO 2020, all rights reserved.