Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Galbulimima baccata F.M.Bailey

Click/tap on images to enlarge
Fruit and leaves [not vouchered]. © G. Sankowsky
Fruit, three views, cross section and seeds. © W. T. Cooper
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Bailey, F.M. (1894) Queensland Department of Agriculture and Stock. Botany Bulletin 9: 5. Type: Eumundi, E.H. Arundell.

Common name

Pigeonberry Ash; Ash, Northern Pigeonberry; Ash, Pigeonberry; Galbulimima; Magnolia; Northern Pigeonberry Ash


Outer bark generally cream to pale brown. Living bark extremely bitter when chewed. (This test should not be pursued too vigorously as the bark is poisonous.)


Numerous small brown circular scales visible with a lens on the underside of the leaf blade. Young shoots and twigs coppery. Leaf blades about 6-11 x 2.5-3.5 cm. Lateral veins forming loops inside the blade margin.


Flowers about 2-2.5 cm diam. with a strong unpleasant odour. Two concentric opercula present in young flower buds, but only one remains just prior to anthesis. Stamens not clearly differentiated into anther and filament. Anther connective extending well past the anther sacs as a linear appendage. Flower buds densely clothed in coppery brown lepidote scales.


Fruits +/- globular, about 15-25 mm diam. Seeds flattened.


Cotyledons oblong or obovate, scattered brown scales visible with a lens on the undersurface. At the tenth leaf stage: flat brown scales present on the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf blade; petioles, terminal bud and stem densely clothed in flat dark brown scales. Seed germination time 107 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP, NEQ and also in south-eastern Queensland but not yet collected in coastal central Queensland. Altitudinal range in CYP and NEQ from 400-1100 m. Grows in well developed mountain rain forests on a variety of sites. Also occurs in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

Natural History & Notes

This species is a rich source of alkaloids. A closely related species in New Guinea is used as a hallucinogenic. Pigeons feeding on fruits of the New Guinea species are reported to have sufficient levels of the hallucinogens in their flesh to produce a reaction in anyone dining on them. (Anon. Pers. com)

Fruit eaten by Cassowaries and Fruit Pigeons. Cooper & Cooper (1994).

Produces a useful decorative timber.

Wood specific gravity 0.64. Cause et al. (1989).

Himantandra baccata (Bailey) Diels, Botanische Jahrbucher 55 : 128(1918). Galbulimima belgraveana (F.Muell.) Sprague, The Journal of Botany 60 : 138(1922).
RFK Code
Copyright © CSIRO 2020, all rights reserved.