Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Commersonia bartramia (L.) Merr.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Flower. © Barry Jago
Leaves and Flowers. © CSIRO
Fruit [not vouchered]. CC-BY J.L. Dowe
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO

Merrill, E.D. (1917) An Interpretation of Rumphius's Herbarium Amboinense : 362.

Common name

Scrub Christmas Tree; Brown Kurrajong; Kurrajong, Brown


Fibrous stripes in the blaze.


Twig bark strong and fibrous when stripped. Stellate hairs visible on the leaves and twigs with the aid of a lens. Leaf blades about 7-15 x 2.7-11 cm, densely clothed in pale or almost white hairs on the underside. Stipules minutely hairy when viewed with a lens.


Flowers about 5 mm diam. in large panicles. Calyx and corolla stellate hairy throughout. Staminodes petaloid, stellate hairy, inflexed and covering the ovary in the bud, but reflexed to expose the ovary at anthesis. Each staminal filament with a bilobed gland at the base, each lobe long, subulate and hairy.


Capsule about 10-12 mm diam., completely covered with long, stellate, hairy bristles, each bristle 5 mm or more long. Seeds about 1.5-2 x 1-1.5 mm, funicle (aril?) yellow or orange.


Cotyledons elliptic, about 6-9 x 5-7 mm undersurface clothed in short, pale hairs towards the base, visible only with a lens, hairs on the upper surface visible with a lens, numerous hairs along the margin. Seed germination time 15 to 21 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards to north eastern New South Wales. Altitudinal range from sea level to 800 m. Grows in well developed rain forest on a variety of sites. This species is favoured by disturbance and is a characteristic component of rain forest regrowth. Also occurs in New Guinea.

Natural History & Notes

A fast growing tree common along roads and areas of disturbance.

Muntingia bartramia L., Amoen. Acad. 4: 124(1759). Commersonia echinata J.R.Forst. & G.Forst., Characteres Generum Plantarum : 44(1775), Type: Celeb COMMERSON, Botanicus, Gallus, comes Illustriss. BOUGANVILLAEI, in itinere circa globum; obiit in Insula Mauritii.
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