Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Gardenia actinocarpa Puttock

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Female flower. CC-BY B. Gray
Female flower. © B. Gray
Male flower. CC-BY B. Gray
Male flower. © B. Gray
Leaves and fruit. © Stanley Breeden
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage with cotyledons still present. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO

Puttock, C.F. (1988) Austrobaileya 2(5): 435. Type: Queensland, Oliver Creek, Cape Tribulation, October 1973, Webb & Tracey 10826 ; holo: BRI; iso: K, NSW, QRS.


Usually flowers and fruits as a shrub about 1-3 m tall.


Stipules resinous, about 3-7 mm long, completely encircling the twigs. Young shoots and terminal buds sticky or resinous. Leaf blade margin scabrous giving it a finely toothed appearance. Leaf blades about 9-27 cm long, often somewhat sandpapery on both the upper and lower surfaces, petioles about 0.4-0.9 cm long.


Flowers pleasantly perfumed. Calyx tube (hypanthium) with six longitudinal ribs, inner surface pubescent. Calyx tube (hypanthium) about 7 mm long, lobes linear, about 6-25 mm long. Corolla tube cylindrical about 15-25 mm long, corolla lobes about 20-30 mm long. Anthers about 10-14 mm long, mostly included in the corolla tube. Style ending in three stigmas like a laid rope.


Fruits ellipsoidal, about 28-46 x 18-32 mm with six longitudinal ribs. Calyx lobes about 7 mm long, persistent at the apex. Seeds about 4-9 x 3-5 mm. Testa thin and papery, much thinner than the endocarp. Cotyledons slightly wider than the radicle.


Cotyledons orbicular, about 11-12 x 10-12 mm, margins often wavy. Hypocotyl densely hairy, the hairs erect and the bases glandular. First pair of leaves with hooked hairs on the margins. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade about 10-15 x 1.5-2 cm, undersurface smooth except for a few scattered tooth-like hairs along the midrib and main lateral veins. Margin undulate and finely toothed. Stipules about 6-7 mm long, triangular with terete tips. Terminal bud resinous. Stem somewhat scabrous. Seed germination time 38 to 196 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to NEQ, known only from the Noah Creek area. Altitudinal range quite small, close to sea level. Grows as an understory plant in undisturbed lowland rain forest.

Natural History & Notes

A very showy shrub that would be a useful addition to tropical horticulture. Large white flowers are produced in profusion especially on male plants.

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