Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Harpullia arborea (Blanco) Radlk.

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Flowers [not vouchered]. © G. Sankowsky
Flowers [not vouchered]. © G. Sankowsky
Dehiscing fruit. © A. Ford & F. Goulter
Fruit, side view and dehiscing. © W. T. Cooper
Fruit, dehiscing fruit and leaves. © A. Ford & F. Goulter
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, hypogeal germination. © CSIRO

Radlkofer, L.A.T. (1887) Sitzungsberichte der mathematisch-physikalischen Classe der k. b. Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Munchen 16 : 404.

Common name

Cooktown Tulipwood


Usually grows as a medium-sized tree.


Leaflets about 8-12 per compound leaf, variable in size, the lower leaflets in each compound leaf usually smaller than those further up. Leaflet blades about 7-16 x 4-8 cm, leaflet stalks about 0.3-0.6 cm long, clothed in brown stellate hairs. Compound leaf rhachis clothed in brown simple hairs.


Inflorescence about 4-22 cm long clothed in stellate hairs and scattered long glandular hairs. Pedicels about 10-50 mm long. Sepals obovate, about 6-7 mm long clothed in stellate hairs. Petals clawed, about 12-14 mm long, glabrous except for the claw. Stamens five. Disk hairy. Ovary pubescent, style about 10-15 mm long and twisted.


Fruits broadly obcordate, bilobed, about 20 x 40 mm, outer surface clothed in short hairs. Outer surface orange, inner surface red. Seeds about 13-15 mm long, testa shiny black. Aril absent. Embryo green, cotyledons massive, radicle curved, about 7 mm long.


First leaf or pair of leaves compound with 2-4 leaflets but the compound leaf ends in a small leaf-like process about 2-4 mm long. Simple and glandular hairs visible on the stem and leaves. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf pinnate with about 4-6 leaflets. Stem, terminal bud and compound leaf rhachis clothed in brown, simple and glandular hairs. Seed germination time 14 to 57 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP and NEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 250 m. Grows in a variety of lowland rain forest types from well developed rain forest to monsoon forest. Also occurs in Asia, Malesia and the Pacific islands.

Ptelea arborea Blanco, Fl. Filip. : 63(1837), Type: Philippines, Luzon, Sept. 1913, E. D. Merrill sp. Blancoanae 339; holo: ?. Harpullia divaricata Radlk., Sitzungsberichte der mathematisch-physikalischen Classe der k. b. Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Munchen 20 : 279(1891), Type: Queensland, Bloomfield River, 1884, Miss E. Bauer; iso: MEL.
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