Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Horsfieldia australiana S.T.Blake

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Flowers [not vouchered]. © G. Sankowsky
Leaves and Flowers. © CSIRO
Fruit, side view, dehisced and arilless seed. © W. T. Cooper
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
1st leaf stage. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Blake, S.T. (1954) Australian Journal of Botany 2(1): 124. Type: NORTHERN TERRITORY, About 12 deg 30 S., 131 deg 40 E., tiny patch of monsoon forest on sandy soil, 16.ix.1946, Blake 17019.

Common name

Cape Nutmeg; Nutmeg Tree; Nutmeg


Exudate copious, watery red. White granular stripes in the outer blaze. Blaze odour faint, resembling that of crushed ants.


Oil dots visible with a lens. Leaves usually alternate and not spirally arranged on the twigs. Leafy twigs usually 2-ridged or very shortly 2-winged, the ridges or wings running from the base of one petiole to the next. Leaf blades about 11-23 x 3-5 cm.


Inflorescences produced on the twigs below or back from the leaves. Flowers small, about 2-3 mm long. Perianth sparsely pubescent on the outer surface.


Capsule about 1.8-2.2 x 1.1-1.4 cm, inner surface pink. Aril completely enclosing the seed. Embryo very small, less than 1 mm long.


At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade elongate-elliptic to ovate, apex acute, base cuneate, upper surface glabrous, lateral veins about 10-13 on each side of the midrib, forming loops inside the margin of the leaf blade; petiole hairy. Seed germination time 37 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to Australia, occurs in NT and CYP. Altitudinal range from sea level to 450 m. Grows in well developed rain forest close to water or gallery forest.

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