Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Denhamia cunninghamii (Hook.) M.P.Simmons

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Habit, leaves and flowers. © CSIRO
Leaves and Flowers. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO

McKenna, M.J. et al (2011) Systematic Botany 36(4): 929.

Common name

Yellowberry Bush


Usually flowers and fruits as a shrub 1-3 m tall.


Leaf blades about 22-65 x 3-7 mm, petioles about 2 mm long. Venation difficult to distinguish. Stipules brown, very small, about 1 mm long.


flowers solitary, usually male or hermaphrodite or in 2-3-flowered racemes. Flowers about 5-6 mm diam. Calyx lobes triangular, about 0.5 mm long. Petals ovate, about 1.5-2 x 1 mm. Ovary green, surrounded by a green fleshy disk. Ovules 2 per locule. Stigma 4-lobed.


Capsules globular or obovoid, about 4-5 mm diam., style persistent at the apex. Seeds brown to black, about 3-5 mm long, one or two per capsule, more than half enclosed in an aril. Embryo green or greenish, about 3 mm long, radicle about 0.5 mm long.


Cotyledons glabrous, orbicular to elliptic, about 8-15 x 6-11 mm, petiole short, up to 1 mm long. First pair of leaves about 18-25 x 4-6 mm, almost sessile, margins toothed. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade with a few (1-3) teeth towards the apex on each side of the leaf blade. Stipules linear, about 0.5 mm long. Stem longitudinally ribbed. Seed germination time 40 to 73 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to Australia, occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards as far as coastal central New South Wales. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 900 m. Usually grows in open forest but also found in vine thickets and monsoon forest.


Maytenus cunninghamii (Hook.) Loes., Die Naturlichen Pflanzenfamilien ed. 2 20b: 136 (1942). Celastrus cunninghamii (Hook.) F.Muell. var. cunninghamii, Queensland Agricultural Journal 29: 178(1912). Gymnosporia cunninghamii (Hook.) Loes., Die Naturlichen Pflanzenfamilien ed. 2, 20b : 136(1942). Celastrus cunninghamii (Hook.) F.Muell., Transactions of the Philosophical Institute of Victoria 3: 30(1859). Catha cunninghamii Hook., Journal of an Expedition into the Interior of Tropical Australia : 386(1848), Type: Queensland, Moonie River, 17 Nov. 1846, T. L. Mitchell; holo: K. Celastrus baileyanus Domin, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 894(1928), Type: Queensland, Chinchilla, R. C. Beasley 2; holo: BRI. Celastrus cunninghamii var. parvifolius F.M.Bailey, Queensland Agricultural Journal 29: 178(1912), Type: Queensland, Chinchilla, R.C. Beasley 2; holo: BRI.

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