Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Diospyros maritima Blume

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flowers. © R.L. Barrett
Flowers. © R.L. Barrett
H. male flower bud; I. dissected male corolla showing stamens; J. fruit. © Queensland Government
Fruit. © R.L. Barrett
Fruit. © R.L. Barrett
Trunk. © R.L. Barrett
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO

Blume, C.L. von (1827) Bijdragen tot de Flora van Nederlandsch Indie No. 7 : 669. Type: ad littora australie Javae insulae.

Common name

Ebony, Broad Leaved; Broad Leaved Ebony


Tree to 25 m. Dead bark almost black, blaze darkens markedly on exposure.


One or two large flat glands visible on the underside of the leaf blade near its junction with the petiole. Similar but smaller glands sometimes present elsewhere on the underside. Leaf blades about 5.5-30 x 2-12 cm. Midrib grooved or depressed on the upper surface. Lateral veins 7-15 pairs, curving but forming only indistinct loops inside the blade margin.


Outer surface of the calyx and corolla densely clothed in pale prostrate hairs. Male inflorescence axes up to 2 mm long, 3-8 flowers. Male flowers: calyx mostly 4-lobed, tube 2.5-3 mm long; corolla tube 5.5-6.5 mm long, 4-lobed, lobes 4.5-6 mm long. Stamens 16-18(-20), fused in pairs and pairs fused to corolla tube. Female flowers solitary; calyx tube 3-5 mm long, lobes 4; corolla tube 5-7 mm long, lobes 4, lobes 6-9 mm long; staminodes 4-10; ovary brown hairy, 8-locular, style 2-4 mm long.


Fruits seated on a truncate or obscurely 4-lobed sericeous persistent calyx. Fruits glabrous, depressed globular, about 15-20 mm long x 20-30 mm wide.


Cotyledons cordate to ovate, about 25 x 15 mm. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves narrowly elliptic, much paler on the underside, midrib depressed on the upper surface; terminal bud clothed in dark brown hairs.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP and NEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to about 30 m. Grows in monsoon forest but is particularly common in coastal vineforest and similar forests, and also near mangroves close to sea level. Also occurs in New Guinea, Timor and Indonesia.

Natural History & Notes

This species has been used as a fish poison in Vietnam.

Cargillia laxa R.Br., Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae : 526(1810), Type: Northern Australia, v.v., R. Brown. Cargillia megalocarpa F.Muell., Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae 5: 163(1865), Type: Ad rupes Escape Cliffs terrae Arnhemicae. McKinlay & Hulls.
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