Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Diospyros laurina (R.Br.) Jessup

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Male flower. © Barry Jago
Fruit, five views, longitudinal section, cross section and seed. © W. T. Cooper
F. male flower; G. dissected corolla, male flower; H. dissected stamens and pistillode, male flower; I. female flower; J. dissected corolla, female flower; K. dissected ovary, female flower; L. fruit. © Queensland Government
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO

Jessup, L.W. (2014) Austrobaileya 9(2): 175-178.

Common name

Brown Ebony


Tree to 20 m but often flowering as a shrub. Outer dead bark brown to almost black in colour.


Leaf blades about 6-13 x 2-5 cm. Oil dots visible with a lens. Glands usually 1-3, scattered, black, usually visible on the underside of the leaf blade in basal half. Petiole grooved on the upper surface and midrib depressed on the upper surface. Young shoots clothed in brown prostrate silky hairs. Lateral veins inconspicuous, 6-10 pairs.


Both male and female flowers outer surface of the calyx and corolla clothed in brown appressed hairs. Male inflorescence axes branched, 1.5-5 mm long, with 3-12 flowers. Male flowers calyx tube 4.5-5.5 mm long, lobes 3; corolla tube 8-11 mm long, lobes 3; stamens 9, free from corolla tube; pistillode 1-1.5 mm long. Female flowers 1(-3) in each axil; calyx tube 4.5-5 mm long, lobes 3(-4); corolla tube 7-8 mm long, lobes 3; staminods absent; ovary 4-4.5 mm long, hairy.


Fruits seated in a three or 4-lobed sericeous cup (the persistent calyx). Fruits sericeous, ovoid-ellipsoid, about 15-20 mm long x 13-15 mm wide. Up to 6-seeded; seeds 6.5-7.5 mm long.


Cotyledons ovate, obtuse at the base, about 18-20 x 12-14 mm. Oil dots small, visible only with a lens. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade hairy on the upper surface. Oil dots small, visible only with a lens. One to six black glands visible on the underside of the leaf blade on each side of the midrib. Terminal bud, stem and petiole densely clothed in long pale brown hairs. Seed germination time 16 to 25 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP, NEQ and CEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 800 m. Grows in a variety of rain forest types but often found in drier rain forest. Also occurs in Papua New Guinea.


Maba laurina R.Br., Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae: 527 (1810), Type: Cumberland Islands, Australia, R. Brown, Oct. 17, 1802. Maba cupulosa F.Muell., Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae 5: 164(1865), Lectotype: [Queensland.] Rockingham Bay, s.dat., J. Dallachy s.n. (lecto: K 000792604). Maba rufa Labill., Sertum Austro-Caledonicum : 33(1825), Type: ? (not cited). Maba sericocarpa F.Muell., Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae 5: 164(1865), Type: Ad sinum Rockinghams Bay. Dallachy. Diospyros seriocarpa F.Muell., Intercolonial Exhibition Essays 1866 -1 867, No. 5 Australian Vegetation : 35(1867). Diospyros cupulosa (F.Muell.) F.Muell.Australian vegetation : 35, (1866).

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