Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Litsea leefeana (F.Muell.) Merr.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Male flowers. © Barry Jago
Male flowers. © Barry Jago
Leaves and Flowers. © CSIRO
Fruit, side views, cross section and seed. © W. T. Cooper
Habit, flower, pistil, stamen, staminode, glands, fruit, seedling. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, hypogeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Merrill, E.D. (1919) Philippine Journal of Science 14 : 242.

Common name

Brown Bollygum; White Sassafras; Sycamore; Brown Bollywood; Brown Beech; Bollywood, Brown; Bollygum, Soft; Bollygum, Brown; Bollygum; Beech, Brown; Beech, Bolly; Bollywood; Soft Bollygum; Bolly Beech


Very fine yellowish flecks or vertical stripes generally visible in the outer blaze. Bark flakes thin, fairly large, +/- square or rectangular in shape.


Twigs terete or fluted, clothed in straight and tortuous, brown and pale brown, erect hairs. Leaf blades about 5-20.5 x 2.5-9.5 cm, green on the underside, clothed in straight and tortuous, white or pale brown, erect hairs which persist on mature leaves. Midrib depressed and often hairy on the upper surface. Petioles flat on the upper surface. Oil dots visible with a lens at least on the upper surface.


Male flowers: Tepals about 1.6-3.1 mm long. Glands attached to the staminal filaments. Stamens about 8-16 per flower, filaments pubescent at least in the lower half. Female flowers: Tepals about 1.4-2 mm long. Glands attached to the staminodes. Ovary glabrous.


Fruits ellipsoid, about 12-22.5 x 10-15 mm. Receptacle about 3.5-7 x 7-10.5 mm. Seed about 10-19 x 7-10 mm. Cotyledons purple.


First pair of leaves ovate, about 25-60 x 12-30 mm, green on the underside. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves elliptic to obovate, apex acuminate, base obtuse, upper surface hairy at least along the midrib; oil dots very small, visible only with a lens; petiole clothed in erect pale hairs. Seed germination time 20 to 62 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to Queensland, occurs in NEQ, CEQ and southwards to south-eastern Queensland. Altitudinal range from sea level to 1100 m. Grows in well developed rain forest on a variety of sites. This species is favoured by disturbance and is a typical component of rain forest regrowth.

Natural History & Notes

Fruit eaten by Cassowaries, Fruit Pigeons and Metallic Starlings. Cooper & Cooper (1994).

This species grows large enough to produce millable logs and the sawn timber is marketed as Bollywood, a useful lightweight, general purpose timber. Wood specific gravity 0.48-0.54. Hyland (1989).

Cylicodaphne leefeana F.Muell., Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae 5: 169(1865), Type: Ad ripas fluminum salsorum sinui Rockinghams Bay affluentium ubi Rhapidophorae pinnatae et Dysoxylo Ceramico consociata. Dallachy.
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