Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Lophostemon suaveolens (Sol. ex Gaertn.) Peter G.Wilson & J.T.Waterh.

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Flowers. © Barry Jago
Flowers. CC-BY R.L. Jago
Flowers. CC-BY R.L. Jago
Leaves and Flowers. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Wilson, Peter G. & Waterhouse, J.T. (1982) Australian Journal of Botany 30: 425.

Common name

Swamp Mahogany; Apple; Mahogany, Swamp; Swamp Box; Swamp Turpentine; Mahogany, Paperbark; Box, Swamp; Paperbark Mahogany


Dead bark often soft and somewhat compressible.


Oil dots visible with a lens if not visible to the naked eye. Leaf blades about 5.5-14 x 2.5-4 cm. Young shoots and younger leaf bearing twigs clothed in white, erect hairs. Young leaves, when crushed, emit an odour like that of geraniums (Pelargonium spp.). Old leaves turn orange-red prior to falling.


Calyx lobes obtuse, persistent. Staminal fascicles up to 3-5 mm long, opposite the petals. Usually 30-50 stamens per fascicle.


Fruit about 6-8 mm diam., included in the calyx tube (hypanthium). Seeds linear, about 1.5-2 mm long.


Cotyledons elliptic to ovate, about 2-4 mm long. A few very small oil dots may sometimes be seen with a lens. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade elliptic, apex acute, upper surface glabrous or with a few hairs near the base on the midrib; oil dots very small, visible only with a lens; petiole, terminal bud and stem clothed in long white or pale hairs. Seed germination time 8 to 21 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards as far as north-eastern New South Wales. Altitudinal range from sea level to 900 m. Grows in swampy open forest but also found on the margin of rain forest and gallery forest. Also occurs in New Guinea.

Natural History & Notes

Formerly used as wharf piles particularly with the bark still attached. Swain (1928).

Tristania suaveolens (Solander ex Gaertn.)Sm., Rees' Cyclopaedia 36 : no. 2(1817). Tristania suaveolens var. glabrescens F.M.Bailey, A Synopsis of the Queensland Flora : 182(1883), Type: (C. Ext.). Melaleuca suaveolens Soland. ex Gaertn., de Fruct. et Sem. 1: 73(1788), Type: Ex hortario Banksiano.
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