Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Maesa dependens F.Muell.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flower. © Barry Jago
Flowers. © Barry Jago
Habit, leaves and fruit. © CSIRO
Leaves and flowers. © ATH
Fruit, several views and cross section. © W. T. Cooper
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Vine stem bark and vine stem transverse section. © CSIRO
Vine stem bark and vine stem transverse section. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Mueller, F.J.H. von (1866) Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae 5(36): 107. Type: "In locis ripariis vallium juxta sinum Rockingham's Bay. Dallachy.".


Usually grows as a vine ascending into the crowns of trees but sometimes flowers and fruits as a bushy shrub. Vine stem diameters to 9 cm recorded.


Clear 'oil dots' visible on the underside of the leaf blade. Oil dots occur in different size classes, the smaller oil dots visible with a lens while the larger oil dots are just visible to the naked eye. Leaf blades variable in shape, about 3.2-13 x 2-8 cm, petioles about 1-3 cm long, grooved on the upper surface. Hairs usually present at least along the midrib and main lateral veins on the underside of the leaf blade, often covering the underside. Leaf, twig and petiole hairs erect, pale brown. Lateral veins usually terminate in a tooth on the leaf margin; teeth usually conspicuous, sometimes absent or inconspicuous; those on the basal part of the leaf margin tend to point backwards.


Flowers small, about 2.5-3 mm diam. Ovules green, partly immersed in orange coloured, fleshy tissue collectively forming a spherical mass on the placenta.


Fruits globular, about 5-6 mm diam., outer surface orange-dotted, calyx lobes persistent at the apex. Each seed with a glandular yellow or orange, translucent, aril-like structure.


Cotyledons ovate to orbicular, about 3-6 x 3-5 mm, apex emarginate, intramarginal vein often visible, oil dots elongated. First pair of leaves have one or two large teeth on each margin. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade elliptic, apex acuminate, base cordate, margin coarsely toothed, hairy on both the upper and lower surfaces, oil dots elongated. Fine veins run +/- parallel to the lateral veins. Terminal bud clothed in long, straight, reddish brown hairs. Seed germination time 24 to 70 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to Queensland, occurs in CYP, NEQ and perhaps the northern part of CEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 1200 m. Grows in disturbed areas in lowland, upland and mountain rain forests.

Natural History & Notes

Two varieties have previously been recognised, mainly based on hairiness of leaves. The hairier variety (var. pubescens) known from lowland to mountain rainforest; the less hairy variety (var. dependens) known from upland and mountain rainforests.


Maesa dependens F.Muell. var. dependensAdditamenta, index. Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae 5: 215 (1867). Maesa dependens var. pubescens F.Muell.Additamenta, index. Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae 5: 215 (1867), Type: None cited. Maesa muelleri Mez, Das Pflanzenreich Heft 9 : 38(1902), Type: Tropisches Australien: Queensland, an der Rockingham-Bay (Dallachy; Herb. Kew, Petersb.).


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