Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Mallotus discolor Benth.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Leaves and fruit. CC-BY: APII, ANBG.
Leaf and fruit [not vouchered]. CC-BY: S. & A. Pearson.
Fruit [not vouchered]. CC-BY: S. & A. Pearson.
Habit in cultivation. CC-BY: APII, ANBG.

Bentham, G. (1873), Flora Australiensis 6: 143.  Type: "Queensland. Rockhampton (rare), O'Shanesy; Moreton Bay, Queensland woods, London Exhibition, 1862, n. 83, W. Hill. N.S. Wales. Clarence river, Mountain brush forests, London Exhibition, 1862, n. 82."

Common name

White Kamala


Shrub or small tree up to 15 m high, evergreen. Bark grey or brown, smooth or older trees sometimes scaly and with longitudinal wrinkles and fissures or flaky; trunk buttressed. Stems densely hairy with stellate hairs and sparse spreading simple hairs. Lenticels prominent on older stems.


Leaves alternate, simple. Stipules 2, free, lanceolate, 1-3 mm long. Petiole 1-9 cm long. Two flat or slightly depressed glands visible on the upper surface of the leaf blade at its junction with the petiole. Leaf blades triangular-ovate, 1-11 cm long, 5-7 cm wide, base cuneate, obtuse or cordate, margin entire, apex acuminate, acute. Leaves with two distinct veins at base extending at least halfway up lamina and with 3-8 pairs of other lateral veins. Upper leaf surface hairless or glabrescent with stellate hairs, lower surface densely hairy with stellate and simple hairs, pale green to silver-green, with numerous minute yellow sessile surface glands. Domatia absent. Small translucent oil dots ± visible with a lens.


Inflorescences terminal or axillary in upper leaves, racemose, with dense stellate hairs throughout. Floral bracts inconspicuous 0.3-0.7 mm long. Flowers unisexual, plants dioecious, actinomorphic, 2-4 merous, tepals 1.6-2.2 mm long, connate at base, densely stellate hairy on outer surface with yellow glands; green. Male flowers with 24-38 stamens variously fused in a central bundle/column. Female flowers with a superior ovary, 3-4-locular, covered in yellow sessile glands, disk absent. Styles 3-4 branched, shortly fused at base, with plumose stigmas.


Fruit a thin-walled not dehiscent capsule, depressed-globose, 3-4-lobed, 6-10 mm diam. Fruit yellow or yellow-orange from dense covering of glands. Seeds 3-4, 3.5-4 mm long, three sided, black.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in the southern part of NEQ where it is recorded from Magentic Island near Townsville, in CEQ, and southwards to near Coffs Harbour in New South Wales. Grows in Araucarian mirophyll vine forest and littoral vine forest.

Natural History & Notes

This species is very similar to Mallotus nesophilus and specimens of M. nesophilus have been wrongly attributed to M. discolor in the past (Forster 1999). Although there is possible overlap in distribution around the Townsville region Mallotus discolor is predominantly found further south than Mallotus nesophilus and comparisons between leaf shape, venation and number of stamens may help to distinguish species. This profile information and associated coding has been adapted from Cooper & Cooper (2004), Harden et al. (2014), Airy Shaw (1980a) and Forster (1999).


Rottlera discolor F.Muell., nom. inval., nom. nud. Collection of Northern Woods in the New South Wales, London Exhibition: -(1862).
RFK Code
Copyright © CSIRO 2020, all rights reserved.