Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Leptaspis banksii R.Br.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flowers [not vouchered]. © G. Sankowsky
Fruit. © CSIRO
Habit, leaves and fruit. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Brown, R. (1810) Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae : 211. Type: Queensland, Endeavour River, Banks & Solander; BM?.

Common name

Rainforest Grass


Can attain a height of 1 m but usually flowers and fruits when smaller.


Leaf blades rather variable in size, frequently linear, about 6-29 x 1-4 cm. Upper surface of the leaf blade and margin scabrous. Underside of the leaf blade clothed in fine short white hairs. Venation longitudinal and parallel.


Outer bracts two, one tongue-like bract inside the other which is inflated into a dome with a small opening near the base. Flowers about 4 x 3.5 mm, clothed in short hooked hairs. Tepals (?) six, very small, around the base of the ovary. Ovary hairy on the upper surface. Ovary, style and stigma about 2-3 mm long.


Fruits about 3-4 x 3 mm and resemble the outer surface of a ribbed bivalved sea shell. Outer surface of the fruits clothed in hooked hairs which adhere to clothing etc. Seed about 3 mm long. Endosperm soft.


First leaves emerge through a pore in the sheathing base of the 'cotyledon'. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade twisted through 180 at its junction with the 'petiole' so that the undersurface faces upwards. Fine teeth visible with a lens on the leaf blade margin and both the upper and lower surfaces of the midrib and sometimes the major veins.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP, NEQ and CEQ. Altitudinal range from sea level to 300 m. Grows in disturbed or undisturbed rain forest on a variety of sites. Also occurs in Malesia.

Natural History & Notes

Food plant for the larval stages of the Large Darter and Small Darter Butterflies. Common & Waterhouse (1981).

RFK Code
Copyright © CSIRO 2020, all rights reserved.