Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Dendrocnide photinophylla (Kunth) Chew

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Flowers. CC-BY J.L. Dowe
Leaves and fruit. © CSIRO
Leaves and immature fruit. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Chew, W.L. (1965) The Gardens' Bulletin Singapore 21 : 205.

Common name

Fibrewood; Shining-leafed Stinger; Shiny Leaf Stinger; Shiny Leaf Stinging Tree; Shiny-leaved Stinger; Shiny-leaved Stinging Tree; Small-leaved Nettle; Shining leaved Stinging Tree; Mulberry-leaved Stinging Tree; Gympie; Stinging Tree, Shining Leaved; Mulberry Leaf Stinger; Gympie Gympie


Wood extremely soft and light. Fibrous stripes in the outer blaze are darker than the general blaze colour. May be deciduous; leafless for a period in September or October.


Stinging hairs may be present on leaves and twigs, particularly those on young trees. Leaf blades about 8-12 x 4-6 cm. Twig bark strong and fibrous when stripped. Oil dots visible with a lens.


Stinging hairs present on the inflorescences but more obvious on the receptacle. Perianth about 1 mm long. Style clothed in short, erect hairs. Stigma about 1 mm long.


Fruit consists of a swollen, fleshy, white receptacle and a small, green-brown fruiting carpel. Achene about 2 x 1.5 mm.


Cotyledons oblong to almost orbicular, about 3-5 x 2-5 mm. Oil dots numerous, visible with a lens. First pair of leaves toothed and clothed in stinging hairs. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves ovate, apex acuminate, base obtuse; both the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf blade, petiole and stem clothed in setaceous stinging hairs; margin crenate with teeth all around the leaf blade; stipules oblong. Seed germination time 24 to 38 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to Australia, occurs in NEQ, CEQ and southwards as far as coastal central New South Wales. Altitudinal range in NEQ from near sea level to 800 m. Grows in well developed rain forest but is probably more common in drier, more seasonal rain forest.

Natural History & Notes

The leaves and twigs of this species inflict a significant sting but the effect is not as bad as that of D. moroides or D. cordifolia and does not last very long. Still a plant to be avoided.

Food plant for the larval stages of the White Nymph Butterfly. Common & Waterhouse (1981).

Laportea photinophylla (Kunth) Wedd., Archives du Museum d'Histoire Naturelle , Paris 9: 138(1856), Type: In Nova Hollandia, prope Moreton-Bay (Al. Cunningham, Leichard). (v.v. cult., in hort. Kewensis, et s. in Herb. mus. par., Hooker et H Urtica photinophylla Wedd., Archives du Museum d'Histoire Naturelle 9 : 139(1856). Urticastrum photinophylla (Kunth) Kuntze, Revisio Generum Plantarum 2: 635(1891). Fleurya photinophylla Kunth, Ann. Sci. Nat. Bot. ser. 3 7: 183(1847), Type: cult. Gottingen, Germany; holo: B, destroyed; neo: Nudgee, Qld, C. T. White 5600, A; isoneo: BRI, NY.
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