Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Hypolytrum compactum Kunth

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Flowers. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, hypogeal germination. © CSIRO

Kunth, K.S. (1805) Enumeratio Plantarum 2: 271. Type: Manilla. .. (Nees ab Esenb. in Mey. mss.) Spicae in specimine herbarii Meyenii carie exesae, incompletae.


Usually flowers and fruits as a herb, but occasionally reaches 1 m or more in height.


Leaf blades about 25-90 x 1-1.2 cm. Margins finely serrate on the upper half, midrib similarly armed on the underside. Leaf blades M-shaped in cross section.


Inflorescence short and compact, globose, about 35 mm diam., subtended by 4 leaf-like bracts. Spikelets elliptic, about 9-13 mm long. Glumes ferruginous, about 5-6 mm long. Anthers about 1.5 mm long, filaments about 4 mm long. Ovary plus style about 6-7 mm long. Stigmas about 2-3 mm long.


Fruits borne in a cluster at the top of a stalk arising from the centre of the plant. Each fruit subtended by a bract and persistent calyx lobes. Seed about 1.5-2 mm long. Endosperm oily. Embryo tiny.


Seed germination time 60 days. One or two scale-like leaves (cataphylls) produced before the first true leaves. First true leaves linear, base sheathing the stem. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade about 100-110 x 4-5 mm, apex acute, margin serrate, venation longitudinally parallel. Petiole about 10-15 mm long, bases sheathing.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP and NEQ. Altitudinal range from 420-500 m. Grows as an understory plant in well developed rain forest, often along creeks. Also occurs in SE Asia and Malesia.

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