Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Elattostachys xylocarpa (A.Cunn. ex F.Muell.) Radlk.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Shoot with inflorescence. CC-BY: APII, ANBG.
Flowers. CC-BY: APII, ANBG.
Leaflets. CC-BY: APII, ANBG.
Domatia. CC-BY: APII, ANBG.
Immature fruits. CC-BY: APII, ANBG.
Dehiscing capsule. CC-BY: APII, ANBG.
Fruit. © G. Sankowsky
Fruit. © G. Sankowsky

Radlkofer, L.A.T. (1879), Actes du Congres International de Botanistes .. Amsterdam for 1877: 112.

Common name

White Tamarind


Usually a small tree 4-10 m but recorded up to 25 m tall. Bark dark brown, smooth with horizontal ridges, branchlets and stems pubescent becoming hairless (glabrous).


Leaves pinnately compound, alternate, 6-16 cm long. New growth reddish. Buds softly hairy with simple hairs. Stipules absent. Petiole 1-4 cm long. Petiolules and petioles swollen at base. Leaflets 2-6 per leaf, alternate, terminal leaflet absent, rachis extended shortly beyond the last leaflet. Blades variable in shape,  ± elliptic to oblong-obovate, 4-10.5 cm long, 1-5 cm wide, base cuneate, rounded and often asymmetric, margins entire, regularly or irregularly toothed, apex acute or obtuse. Leaflets hairy to hairless on upper surface, hairy on lower surface yellow to golden tinged. Midrib raised on the upper surface of the leaflet blade. Domatia present, conspicuous as hairy tufts in lateral vein axils.


Inflorescence axillary, racemose or in panicles. Flowers unisexual and plant monoecious, actinomorphic. Sepals 5, fused only at the base, ovate 3-4 mm long, hairy. Petals 5, free, ovate or subhastate, glabrous except for villous recurved scales, 2.5-5 mm long, pinkish white. Male flowers with 8 stamens (exserted) and a rudimentary ovary present. Female flowers with usually 8 staminodes (on short filaments and not exserted). Ovary superior, locules 3.


Fruit a capsule, obovoid or ellipsoidal, 3-valved, grooved at sutures, dry when mature, 15-20 mm long, 15-22 mm diam. Mature fruit yellow-green outside, pink-purplish inside, sparsely hairy outside, valves thick and woody. Seed black 6-8 mm long, 1 per locule; aril white to purple-pink, with two broad arms on either side of seed.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in NEQ from near Ingham southwards to Grafton in NSW in dry rainforest and vine thicket communities.

Natural History & Notes
Elattostachys bidwillii is treated as a synonym here following the Australian Plant Census (CHAH 2006). The Queensland Herbarium recognises E. xylocarpa as a separate species to E. bidwillii, distinguished from the latter by the distinctly hairy lower leaflet surface, shorter leaflets and with regularly to irregularly toothed margins. This profile information and associated coding has been adapted from Cooper & Cooper (2004), Harden et al. (2014) and Reynolds (1984).
Cupania xylocarpa A.Cunn. ex F.Muell., Transactions of the Philosophical Institute of Victoria 3: 27 (1859), Type: "On various parts of the east coast of Australia." Cupania xylocarpa A.Cunn. ex F.Muell. var. xylocarpa, Handbook of the Flora of New South Wales: 91, (1893). Cupania bidwillii Benth., Flora Australiensis 1: 460, (1863), Type: "Queensland. Wide Bay, Bidwill." Elattostachys bidwillii (Benth.) Radlk., Actes du Congres International de Botanistes .. Amsterdam for 1877: 112 (1879).
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