Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Litsea glutinosa (Lour.) C.B.Rob.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flowers, fallen. © R.L. Barrett
Male flowers. © CSIRO
Fruit. © CSIRO
Habit, flower, pistil, stamen, staminode, glands, fruit, seedling. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, hypogeal germination. © CSIRO
Stamens, anthers 4-celled, filaments hairy. © CSIRO
Stamens, anthers 4-celled, filaments hairy. © CSIRO

Robinson, C.B. (1911) Philippine Journal of Science, Bot. 6 : 321.

Common name

Brown Bollywood; Beech, Bolly; Brown Bollygum; Soft Bollygum; Bollywood, Brown; Bollywood; Bollygum, Soft; Bollygum, Brown; Bollygum; Bolly Beech; Beech, Brown; Brown Beech


Usually a small tree.


Twigs terete, clothed in tortuous, white, erect and appressed, persistent hairs. Leaf blades about 7-28 x 3-18.5 cm, green on the underside, clothed in white, tortuous, erect hairs which may persist on mature leaves or may be almost entirely shed. Midrib raised or flush with the upper surface. Petioles flat or ridged on the upper surface. Oil dots visible with a lens.


Male flowers: Tepals about 2-2.9 mm long. Glands not attached to the staminal filaments. Stamens about 8-20 per flower, filaments usually hairy. Female flowers: Tepals about 1.8-2.8 mm long. Glands not attached to the staminodes. Ovary glabrous.


Fruits globular, about 8.5-10 x 8.5-11 mm. Receptacle about 5-8 x 4-8 mm. Seed about 6-7.5 x 5-8.5 mm. Cotyledons cream.


About 4 or 5 cataphylls produced before the first true leaves. First pair of true leaves elliptic, about 30-40 x 20-25 mm, green on the underside. Petioles about 5-6 mm long. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves closely spaced, almost whorled, leaf blade about 8-10.5 x 3.7-4.6 cm, petiole about 0.6-0.7 cm long, leaf blade with a few hairs on the upper surface at least along the midrib; oil dots very small, visible only with a lens; petiole hairy. Seed germination time 117 to 196 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ and CEQ. Altitudinal range from sea level to 600 m. Grows in monsoon forest, gallery forest and open forest on soils derived from a variety of rock types. Also occurs in India, China, SE Asia and Malesia.

Natural History & Notes

This rather insignificant looking species has a wide distribution and has assumed weed potential in parts of the African continent. It appears that it was grown in plantations on Mauritius in previous times. Kostermans pers. comm. thought the bark was used in the production of mosquito coils but this has not been confirmed.

Litsea glutinosa does appear to have some medicinal properties. ( (17-8-2000); (17-8-2000)).

This plant used medicinally by Aborigines, and has also been used medicinally in India. Cribb (1981).

This species does not produce millable logs. Wood specific gravity 0.77. Hyland (1989).

Sebifera glutinosa Lour., Fl. Cochinch. : 638(1790), Type: J. Loureiro, Cochinchina; holo: BM. Litsea brassii O.Schmidt, Journal of the Arnold Arboretum 10: 214(1029), Type: Papua New Guinea, Kappa Kappa, L. J. Brass 813; holo: B destroyed?; iso: A, BRI. Litsea chinensis Lam., Encyclopedie Methodique. Botanique : 574(1789), Type: M. Sonnerat, Stadman & Joseph Martin, China?, Ille de France?. Tetranthera laurifolia Jacq., Plantarum Rariorum Horti Caesarei Schoenbrunnensis 1: 59(1797), Type: Sponte crescit in China; colitur in insula Mauritii.
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