Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Cryptocarya laevigata Blume

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Flowers. CC-BY J.L. Dowe
Flowers. CC-BY J.L. Dowe
Flowers. © Australian Plant Image Index (APII). Photographer: M. Fagg.
Fruit, three views, cross section and seed. © W. T. Cooper
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, hypogeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Blume, C.L. von (1827) Bijdragen tot de Flora van Nederlandsch Indie No. 7 : 556. Type: in sylvis montanis. Java (?).

Common name

Glossy Laurel; Grey Sassafras; Laurel, Glossy; Red Fruited Laurel; Sassafras, Grey


Seldom exceeding 30 cm dbh. Blaze odour may be conspicuous and quite pleasant resembling that of Red Cedar (Toona ciliata).


Twigs +/- terete (slightly fluted, only when very young), clothed in straight, white or pale brown, appressed hairs when very young but soon becoming glabrous. Leaf blades about 5-15.5 x 1.3-6.1 cm, green and glabrous on the underside at maturity, with a few sparsely scattered straight, white or pale brown, appressed hairs visible only on very young leaves. Midrib usually flush with the upper surface (sometimes slightly raised). Petioles channelled on the upper surface. Oil dots visible with a lens.


Inflorescence racemose or paniculate, not exceeding the leaves. Flowers pleasantly perfumed or without any obvious odour. Lower half of the perianth tube glabrous on the inner surface. Tepals about 2.2-3.2 mm long, glabrous on the outer surface. Ovary and style glabrous.


Fruits globular, depressed globular, ellipsoid or ovoid, about 17-33 x 17-38 mm. Endocarp longitudinally ribbed. Cotyledons white or cream.


First pair of leaves elliptic, lanceolate or ovate, about 45-70 x 22-30 mm, green on the underside. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade strongly 3-veined; oil dots small, numerous, visible only with a lens. Petiole sparsely hairy. Seed germination time 47 to 405 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in NEQ and also in south-eastern Queensland and north-eastern New South Wales but not in coastal central Queensland. Altitudinal range from sea level to 450 m. Grows as an understory tree in well developed lowland rain forest. Also occurs in Malesia.

Natural History & Notes

Leaf material of this species was active against tumor cell cultures. Collins et al. (1990).

This species has no commercial value as it seldom grows large enough to produce millable logs. Wood specific gravity 0.86-0.91. Hyland (1989).

Oreodaphne bowiei Walp., Annales Botanicae Systematicae 1 : 576(1849). Cryptocarya bowiei (Walp.) Druce, The Botanical Exchange Club and Society of the British Isles Report for 1916, Suppl. 2 : 618(1917). Laurus bowiei Hook., Hooker's Journal of Botany 4 : 418(1841), Type: long cultivated in the greenhouse of the Royal Botanic Garden of Kew, having been introduced from the Cape of Good Hope by Mr Bowie. Cryptocarya laevigata var. bowiei (Hook.) Kosterm., Reinwardtia 7 : 470(1965). Cryptocarya australis (Hook.) Benth., Flora Australiensis 5: 299(1870). Caryodaphne australis A.Braun & Bouche, Species Novae et Minus Cognitae Horti Regii Botanici Berolinensis : (1851), Type: quem ex horto Pillnitz sub nomine Lauri Australis ex insula Norfolk accepimus, .. quae in horto Berolinensi coluntur, Laurus australis Hook., Hooker's Journal of Botany 4 : 436(1841), Type: It is a native of Moreton Bay; Australia.
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