Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Diploglottis macrantha S.T.Reynolds

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flower. © G. Sankowsky
Flowers. © CSIRO
Leaflets. © G. Sankowsky
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, hypogeal germination. © CSIRO

Reynolds, S.T. (1981) Austrobaileya 1(3): 395. Type: Queensland, Iron Range, 27 Jul 1949, H. Flecker 13158; holo: BRI.

Common name

Cape Tamarind; Tamarind; Tamarind, Cape


Occasionally grows into a small tree but usually flowers and fruits as a single-stemmed shrub about 3-4 m tall.


Leaf bearing twigs clothed in brown hairs, longitudinally grooved or striated particularly when young. Leaflet blades large, about 9-26 x 4-15 cm, margins recurved. Terminal buds densely clothed in dark brown hairs. Midrib hairy and lateral veins depressed on the upper surface of the leaflet blade. Lateral veins curving just inside the blade margin but not forming definite loops. Leaflet blade arched between the lateral veins on the upper surface. Brown hairs present on the midrib and all the lateral veins on the underside of the leaflet blade. Leaflet petiole swollen at its junction with the compound leaf rhachis.


Inflorescences about 6-13 cm long, inflorescence axis longitudinally grooved or striated. Flowers about 7-8 mm diam., aggregated in fascicles on the inflorescence axis, pedicels about 6-8 mm long. Calyx lobes about 3-5 mm long, tomentose outside. Petals five, one smaller than the rest, most petals about as long as the calyx. Each petal with a pair of hairy glandular structures attached close to the base on the inner surface. Disk complete or almost complete (though sometimes lobed). Stamens or staminodes eight.


Fruits obovoid to obcordate, about 1.5-2 x 2-4 cm, often two or 3-lobed or grooved, outer surface clothed in rusty or golden hairs. Seeds +/- ovoid, about 17-18 x 10 mm, aril completely enveloping the seed.


Cataphylls (0-3) produced before the first true leaves. First pair of true leaves alternate, ovate or +/- orbicular, apex ending in a short hairy mucro. Both the upper and lower leaf blade surfaces densely clothed in hairs. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade about 15-17 cm long, petiole about 3.5 cm long. Midrib and lateral veins clothed in brown hairs on the underside of the leaf blade and similarly on the upper surface but to a lesser extent. Young shoot, twig and petiole clothed in brown hairs. Seed germination time 30 to 50 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to Queensland, occurs in CYP and NEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 450 m. Grows as an understory plant in monsoon forest, gallery forest and upland rain forest.

Natural History & Notes

An attractive small tree with horticultural potential in tropical gardens. The very large pinnate leaves and yellow capsules with orange arils are the main feature.

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