Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Kopsia arborea Blume

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Leaves and Flowers. © A. Ford & F. Goulter
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, hypogeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Blume, C.L. von (1823) Catalogus : 13. Type: Mt Salak, Java, C. Blume s. n.


Grows as a small tree not exceeding 30 cm dbh, occasionally flowers and fruits as a shrub.


Petioles and twigs produce a milky exudate. Leaf blades about 10-20 x 5-8 cm, petioles about 1-1.5 cm long. Lateral veins about 10-15 on each side of the midrib. Numerous bristle-like hairs at the base of each petiole, between the petiole and the twig. A gland is usually visible on the underside of the leaf blade almost at the apex of the acuminate tip.


Flowers quite large, about 24-32 mm diam., faintly perfumed. Calyx lobes about 2 mm long, margins fimbriate. Corolla tube about 25 mm long, glabrous outside but hairy towards the apex on the inner surface, lobes about 15 mm long, glabrous. Anthers inserted on the corolla tube just below the apex.


Fruits glaucous, ellipsoid, about 20-30 x 8-16 mm, sometimes germinating while still on the tree.


First pair of leaves elliptic, glabrous, margins smooth. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves elliptic to obovate, apex acuminate, base cuneate to attenuate, glabrous on the upper surface, midrib grooved on the upper surface. All plant parts produce a copious milky exudate when cut or damaged. Midrib raised on the upper surface of the leaf blade. Numerous brown or black glandular bristles visible between the base of the petiole and the stem. Seed germination time 10 to 18 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP and NEQ but seldom in large numbers. Altitudinal range from near sea level to about 200 m. Usually grows in lowland rain forest but also found in beach forest close to the sea. Also occurs in Malesia.

Natural History & Notes

This species has horticultural potential as it produces decorative flowers which are faintly but pleasantly perfumed.

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