Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Glycosmis trifoliata (Blume) Spreng.

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flowers. © CSIRO
Leaves and Flowers. © CSIRO
Fruit [not vouchered]. © G. Sankowsky
Fruit, two views and cross section. © W. T. Cooper
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon and 1st leaf stage, hypogeal germination. © CSIRO

Sprengel, C.P.J. (1827) Systema Vegetabilium : .

Common name

Glycosmis, Pink-fruited; Pink-fruited Glycosmis


Usually flowers and fruits as a shrub about 2-4 m tall.


If leaves compound, terminal or middle leaflet +/- has a pulvinus but the lateral leaflets do not. Leaf or leaflet blades about 6-15 x 2.5-6.5 cm. Lateral veins forming loops inside the blade margin. Terminal buds and young shoots clothed in short brownish or reddish hairs.


Sepals about 0.5 mm long. Petals about 4-5 mm long, glabrous or eventually becoming almost glabrous. Stamens ten, dimorphic, five long alternating with the petals, five short opposite the petals. Ovules pendulous, one per locule in the ovary. Style thick and short, shorter than the ovary.


Fruits globular or depressed globular, about 10-12 mm diam. Style and stigma persistent at the apex of the fruit. Seeds globular, about 6-8 mm diam. Testa thin and transparent. Surface of the cotyledons marked by numerous oil glands. Cotyledons green, oil dots numerous. Radicle and plumule clothed in rusty brown or white hairs.


First pair of leaves resemble cotyledons and are opposite and ovate, about 15-25 x 10-15 mm, oil dots numerous and conspicuous. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade usually simple (becoming trifoliolate by the 12th-15th leaf) elliptic, oil dots numerous. Terminal bud clothed in short rusty brown hairs. Seed germination time 14 to 28 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards to coastal south-eastern Queensland. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 550 m. Usually grows in the drier rain forest types, monsoon forest, beach forest and vine thickets. Also occurs in Malesia and Asia.

Natural History & Notes

Food plant for the larval stages of the Canopus and Capaneus Butterflies. Common & Waterhouse (1981).

Sclerostylis trifoliata Bl., Bijdr. Fl. Ned. Ind. 3: 133(1825), Type: Java, Cheribon prov., near Linga Jati, Blume; holo: L. Glycosmis pentaphylla (Retz.) DC., Prodromus 1: 538(1824).
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