Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Litsea bennettii B.Hyland

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Habit, flower, pistil, stamen, staminode, glands, fruit, seedling. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, hypogeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Hyland, B.P.M. (1989) Australian Systematic Botany 2: 256. Type: B. Hyland 12916: State Forest Reserve 310, Bellenden-Ker, 6.xii.1983 (QRS, holotypus).


Fine yellowish flecks or stripes generally visible in the outer blaze.


Twigs +/- terete or slightly angular, clothed in tortuous, brown, erect hairs when young, eventually becoming almost completely glabrous. Leaf blades about 4.5-9 x 2.5-3.5 cm, green on the underside, clothed in tortuous, brown, erect hairs which persist to some extent even on old leaves. Midrib depressed on the upper surface. Petioles channelled on the upper surface. Oil dots visible with a lens. Dried leaves have a distinct peppery (Piper nigrum) odour.


Male flowers: Tepals about 1.7-2 mm long. Glands cream, attached to the staminal filaments. Stamens about 5-11 per flower, filaments woolly at least towards the base. Female flowers: Tepals about 1.6-2 mm long. Glands attached to the staminodes. Ovary glabrous, sometimes pubescent.


Fruits ellipsoid, about 15.5-18 x 11.5-14 mm. Receptacle about 6 x 10 mm. Seed about 11-13 x 8.5-9.5 mm. Cotyledons purple.


First pair of leaves ovate or cordate, about 15-35 x 12-22 mm, green on the underside. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves ovate, apex shortly acuminate, base obtuse, upper surface glabrous; oil dots very small, visible with a lens around the margin of the leaf blade only. Seed germination time 26 to 76 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to NEQ, restricted to the tops of the higher mountains from Mt Spurgeon to Hinchinbrook Island. Altitudinal range from 1100-1550 m. Grows in mountain rain forest on soils derived from granite.

Natural History & Notes

This species grows large enough to produce millable logs. Wood specific gravity 0.56. Hyland (1989).

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