Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Diospyros humilis (R.Br.) F.Muell.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Leaves and fruits. © CSIRO
Fruit. © R.L. Barrett
H. male flower; I. dissected male flower, showing corolla and stamens; J. female flower; K. dissected ovary, female flower. © Queensland Government.
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO

Mueller, F.J.H. von (1867) Intercolonial Exhibition Essays 1866-67, No. 5. Australian vegetation : 35.

Common name

Ebony, Black; Ebony, Native; Ebony, Queensland; Ebony, Small Leaved; Ebonywood; Long Tom; Queensland Ebony; Ebony, Australian; Black Ebony; Australian Ebony; Small Leaved Ebony; Ebony Wood; Native Ebony


Shrub or tree to 10 m. Dead bark quite dark, almost black, layered. Pale brown brittle stripes in the blaze. Innermost layers of heartwood almost black in larger trees.


Leaf blade generally rather small, about 0.8-3(-5.4) x 0.5-3 cm. Glands up to 10 on each side of midvein, mostly in basal half. Lateral veins 4-10 pairs, scarcely visible on fresh material.


Male inflorescence axees 1-4 mm long, with (2-)3(-4) flowers. Male flower outer surface of the calyx +/- glabrous, but the outer surface of the corolla lobes densely clothed in pale straight and tortuous hairs; calyx lobes 3; corolla lobes 3; stamens 9 (6 in the outer whorl and 3 in the inner whorl); pistillode 0.5 mm long, hairy.  Female flowers solitary; calyx 3 lobed; corolla 3 lobed; staminodes absent.


Fruits ellipsoid, about 10-15 mm long x 7-9 mm wide; glabrous or nearly so, seated in a 3-lobed puberulous cup.


Cotyledons ovate to elliptic, 10-13 x 28 mm. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade glabrous on the upper surface; midrib flush with the upper surface of the leaf blade; petiole hairy and a few scattered hairs present along the midrib on the undersurface of the leaf blade. Seed germination time 13 to 19 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards to south-eastern Queensland. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 850 m. Grows in monsoon forest, beach forest and other similar communities. Also occurs in New Guinea and Timor.

Maba humilis R.Br., Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae : 527(1810), Type: v.v. absque floribus. R. Brown. Diospyros ferrea var. humilis (R.Br.) Bakh., Bulletin du Jardin Botanique de Buitenzorg Series 3 15: 57(1937). Ebenus humilis (R.Br.) Kuntze, Revisio Generum Plantarum 2: 408(1891). Maba ovata F.Muell., Hooker's Journal of Botany & Kew Garden Miscellany 8: 326(1856). Maba obovata R.Br., Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae : 527(1810), Type: v.v. [given by A.P.Hiern, Trans. Cambr. Philos. Soc. 12 (1873) 119]. R. Brown. Ebenus obovata (R.Br.) Kuntze, Revisio Generum Plantarum 2: 408(1891).
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