Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Dysoxylum rufum (A.Rich.) Benth.

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Dehisced fruit. © Stanley Breeden
Fruit and dehisced fruit. © Stanley Breeden
Fruit, side view, dehisced and arillous seed. © W. T. Cooper
Fruit, bird's eye view, dehisced and arillous seed. © W.T. Coper
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, hypogeal germination. © CSIRO

Bentham, G. (1863) Flora Australiensis 1: 382.

Common name

Bean, Rusty; Cedar, Bastard Pencil; False Rosewood; Hairy Rosewood; Mahogany, Rusty; Rusty Mahogany; Red Bean; Red Heart; Rusty Bean; Australian Mahogany; Bastard Pencil Cedar


Yellowish or orange speckles often visible in the blaze.


Terminal buds and young shoots densely clothed in pale brown or golden hairs. Midrib raised on the upper surface of the leaflet blades. Domatia are foveoles with hairs at the orifice. Midrib, petioles and compound leaf axis hairy on the upper surface. Leaflet blades about 7-24 x 2-5 cm.


Sepals distinct, +/- free from one another, imbricate, about 1.5-2 mm long, obtuse at the apex. Outer surface of the corolla clothed in pale, prostrate hairs. Petals about 11-13 mm long. Stamens ten. Disk resembles a short staminal tube. Ovary pubescent.


Fruits globular, about 30-40 mm diam., outer surface clothed in erect irritant hairs. Sarcotesta orange-red, enclosing the seed. Cotyledons green.


First true leaves ovate, apex acute, base cuneate to obtuse. Intermediate leaves elliptic, apex acuminate, base cuneate. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves trifoliolate, leaflet blades obovate, apex acuminate, base attenuate, hairy on both the upper and lower surfaces, hairs erect, pale; foveoles present at the junction of most lateral veins and the midrib. Seed germination time 27 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to Australia, occurs in NEQ, CEQ and southwards as far as coastal central New South Wales. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 1100 m. Grows as an understory tree in well developed rain forest on a variety of sites.

Natural History & Notes

This species is suspected as having caused death in cattle on the Atherton Tableland. Everist (1974).

This species is regarded as poisonous. (

Alliaria rufa (A.Rich.) Kuntze, Revisio Generum Plantarum 1: 109(1891). Hartighsea rufa A.Rich., Voyage de l'Astrolabe 2; Sertum Austrolabianum : 29(1834), Type: Crescit in Novae-Hollandiae. (V.s.s. fructif. communicatum a clar. Fraser.).
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