Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Dalbergia densa Benth.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Leaves and fruits. © CSIRO
Fruit. © G. Sankowsky
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, hypogeal germination. © CSIRO
Vine stem bark and vine stem transverse section. © CSIRO

Bentham. G. (1843) Hooker's London Journal of Botany 2: 217(1843), Type: New Guinea, Mr. Hinds; Tobie Island, Mr. Barclay.


Usually grows as a vine but can flower and fruit as a shrub 1-4 m tall. Vine stem diameters to 8 cm recorded. Subrhytidome layer khaki, yellow or orange-yellow in colour.


About 12-20 or more leaflets per compound leaf. Leaflet blades about 15-45 x 8-18 mm, leaflet stalks about 1-3 mm long. Both the upper and lower leaflet blade surfaces sparsely clothed in short pale-coloured hairs. Stipules oblong, about 1 mm long, obtuse at the apex, clothed in white or silver prostrate hairs. Branches modified to form tendrils.


Bracteoles rounded to triangular. Flowers about 7 mm diam., each flower subtended by two hairy bracts. Calyx about 2-3 mm long, hairy on the outer surface. Calyx tube about 1.5 mm long, lobes about 1-1.2 mm long. Corolla about 4-5 mm long, glabrous. Stamens 10, filaments fused to form a tube open on one side, fused section about 2.7 mm long, free part of the filaments about 1.5 mm long. Ovary hairy, stalked, ovary + stalk about 4 mm long. Style glabrous. Ovules 2 to 4.


Fruits flat, about 4-7 x 1-3 cm, +/- elliptic-oblong in outline, wing-like. Seeds 1 or 2 per fruit, each seed about 14-17 x 5-6 mm. Radicle about 1 mm long.


First leaf compound, pinnate, with 5 leaflets, terminal leaflet present, lateral leaflets opposite. Leaflet blades about 9-11 x 4-5 mm, oblong to elliptic, apex obtuse to retuse, base obtuse to cuneate. Leaflet stalks about 0.5-1 mm long. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf pinnate with about 23-33 leaflets. Leaflet blades oblong-elliptic, base shallowly cordate to obtuse, apex obtuse but with a very small downward pointing tip. Leaflet blades sericeous with both the upper and lower surfaces clothed in short, pale-coloured hairs. Stipules hairy, about 1.5-3 mm long. Seed germination time 20 to 22 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP and NEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 400 m. Grows in monsoon forest and vine thickets. Also occurs in New Guinea.

Natural History & Notes

Not noted as having any grazing significance. Hacker (1990).


Dalbergia densa Benth. var. densa, Annals of the Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta 10(1): 73 (1904).  Dalbergia densa var. australis Prain, Annals of the Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta 10(1): 73 (1904), Type: Australia: Possession Island, R. Brown; Prince of Wales Island, R. Brown; Albany Island, Hill; Torres Straits, Mosely; Stuart's River (von Mueller); Queensland, without exact locality (Bailey).

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