Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Cleistanthus semiopacus F.Muell. ex Benth.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Male flowers. © Barry Jago
Flowers [not vouchered]. © G. Sankowsky
Leaves and flowers [not vouchered]. © G. Sankowsky
Fruit [not vouchered]. CC-BY J.L. Dowe
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, durian germination. © CSIRO

Bentham, G. (1873) Flora Australiensis 6: 123. Type: Rockingham Bay, Dallachy.

Common name

Rusty Cleistanthus


Usually encountered as a small tree but trees to 50 cm dbh have been recorded.


Leaf blades about 4-12 x 2-4 cm, much paler on the underside. Lateral veins generally forming loops inside the blade margin. The underside of young leaf blades clothed in medifixed hairs. Terminal bud and young shoots densely clothed in short rusty hairs. Leafy twigs rather slender, about 1 mm diam. Petioles slightly swollen and finely wrinkled transversely.


Flowers about 4-5 mm diam. Calyx sericeous externally with brown hairs but glabrous on the inner surface. Ovary pubescent.


Fruit disintegrating at maturity leaving the stalk and central axis attached to the tree. Capsule (without stalk) about 5-7 mm long.


First pair of leaves subopposite, ovate, apex acute, base obtuse, hairy on the underside,. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade elliptic, apex acute or acuminate, base cuneate, young leaves often purplish. Seed germination time 7 to 17 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to NEQ, widespread from Bathurst Bay to Cardwell. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 750 m. Usually grows in beach forest and drier rain forest, often associated with Kauri Pine (Agathis robusta).

Kaluhaburunghos semiopacus (Benth.) Kuntze, Revisio Generum Plantarum 2: 607(1891). Cleistanthus semiopacus Benth. var. semiopacus, Kew Bulletin 31: 380(1976).
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