Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Glochidion ferdinandi (Mull.Arg.) F.M.Bailey

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Male flowers [not vouchered]. CC-BY: S. & A. Pearson.
Leaf [not vouchered]. CC-BY: S. & A. Pearson.
Fruit [not vouchered]. CC-BY: S. & A. Pearson.
Dehiscing capsule. CC-BY: APII, ANBG.
Habit in cultivation. CC-BY: APII, ANBG.

Bailey, F.M. (1902), The Queensland Flora 5: 1423.

Common name

Water Gum, Cheese Tree, Pencil Cedar, Buttonwood, Rain Tree, Jow-war.


Shrub or small tree up to 15 m high, buttressed. Bark fissured, flaky and papery. Stems hairless or becoming hairless or rarely finely hairy.


Leaves alternate, simple and arranged in one plane. New growth reddish. Leaves turning orange or reddish before falling. Petiole 3-5 mm long. Stipules lanceolate, 2-4 mm long. Leaf blades elliptic to oblong-elliptic, 4-11 cm long, 1.5-5 cm wide, base cuneate, obtuse or oblique, margin entire, apex acuminate, acute. Lateral veins 7-10 per side of midrib, midrib raised on upper surface. Upper leaf surface glossy and hairless or rarely sparsely hairy, lower surface usually hairless or sometimes softly hairy.


Inflorescences unisexual and axillary, plants monoecious. Flowers solitary or in few flowered clusters (fascicles). Flowers 3-merous, with 6 tepals, 3 inner and 3 outer tepals, greenish, 2-3 mm long, c. 2 mm diam. Male flowers with 6 stamens fused into a central column. Female flowers with a superior ovary, 5-7-locular. Flowers without a disk. Styles fused to form a ± conical mass on the top of the ovary, but not projecting beyond the tepals.


Fruit a dry dehiscent capsule, depressed-globose and prominently 10-lobed, 10-20 mm diam., thin-walled. Fruit green or pink to reddish. Seeds 8-12, about 5 mm long; aril red to orange, completely covering seed.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in NEQ and CEQ, southwards to south eastern New South Wales. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 1000 m. Usually found in drier rain forest, sub-tropical and littoral rainforest.

Natural History & Notes

There has been some confusion about the application of this species in the past (Airy Shaw 1976). Two varieties are currently recognized for the region treated in this key: Glochidion ferdinandi var. ferdinandi and Glochidion ferdinandi var. pubens.

Glochidion ferdinandi var. ferdinandi, is hairless in all parts and occurs throughout the species range. Glochidion ferdinandi var. pubens has finely hairy new growth, branchlets, leaves and occurs in coastal areas north from NSW, to the Mackay district, north Qld.
This profile information and associated coding has been adapted from Cooper & Cooper (2004), Harden et al. (2014), and Airy Shaw (1976; 1980).

Phyllanthus ferdinandi Mull.Arg., Flora: oder Allgemeine Botanischer Zeitung 48: 379 (1865), Type: "Ad Hastings River Novae Hollandiae (Ferd. Muell.! in Hb. DC.)." Diasperus ferdinandi (Mull.Arg.) Kuntze, Revisio Generum Plantarum 2: 599, (1891).
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