Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Graptophyllum spinigerum F.Muell.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Flower. © CSIRO
Leaves and fruits. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Mueller, F.J.H. von (1879) Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae 11: 17. Type: Queensland, Cooktown, 1877, Persietz (Persieh) 126; lecto: MEL 100761. Fide Barker (1986).

Common name

Samford holly; Graptophyllum


Usually flowers and fruits as a shrub about 1-2 m tall.


Leaves borne in decussate pairs along the twigs, +/- sessile, leaf blades about 1-8 x 0.7-3.8 cm, one leaf of each pair usually much smaller than the other. Margin usually toothed or lobed in the upper half with 1-4 teeth on each side. Leaf oil dots or glands elongated, streaky. Lateral veins forming loops inside the blade margin.


Flowers pedicellate. Calyx lobes linear-triangular, about 5-6 mm long, sparsely hairy. Corolla about 7-8.5 mm long, tube red-spotted and somewhat hairy on the inner surface. Stamens included in the corolla tube, anthers maroon, locules attached side by side, connective extending slightly beyond the anthers.


Capsule 15-20 mm long, spindle or club-shaped but acuminate at the apex. Cotyledons much wider than the radicle.


Cotyledons orbicular to reniform, about 7-10 x 8-10 mm, usually wider than long. First pair of leaves often with a slender spine in one of the axils. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves opposite but the leaves in each pair are very unequal in size, one always much larger and wider than the other. Axillary spines about 3-4 mm long, produced in the axil of the smaller leaf in each pair. Leaf blades with one or two coarse teeth on each side. Lateral veins forming loops well inside the blade margin. Stems +/- square in transverse section. Seed germination time 12 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards to south eastern Queensland. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 500 m. Grows in rain forest and monsoon forest often on rocky areas which are more exposed than the usual forest floor. Also occurs in New Guinea.

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