Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Mallotus mollissimus (Geiseler) Airy Shaw

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Female flowers, buds and ant. © Barry Jago
Male flowers and buds. © Barry Jago
Leaves and inflorescence. © CSIRO
Fruit and infructescence. © W. T. Cooper
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Airy Shaw, H.K. (1972) Kew Bulletin 26: 297.

Common name

Kamala, Green; Green Kamala; Woolly Mallotus; Soft Kamala; Kamala


Seldom exceeding 30 cm dbh.


Young shoots and younger leaf bearing twigs densely clothed in short pale brown stellate hairs. Freshly broken twigs producing a small amount of dark coloured exudate, mainly from the pith. Stellate hairs and small yellowish glands visible with a lens on the underside of the leaf blade. Small oil dots visible with a lens. Leaf blades about 13-28 x 9-23 cm.


Floral bracts shorter than the flowers at anthesis. Flowers about 3-5 mm diam. Outer surface of the tepals densely clothed in stellate hairs. Ovary densely stellate hairy and echinate, the trichomes also stellate hairy and difficult to distinguish.


Capsules echinate and densely stellate hairy. The trichomes are also densely stellate hairy, so that the fruit itself is completely obscured. Seeds +/- globular or lachrimiform, about 3 mm diam.


Cotyledons ovate or broadly ovate, about 12-15 mm long, hairy on the upper surface. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade cordate-ovate, apex acuminate, base peltate, cordate or obtuse, both the upper and lower surfaces with white stellate hairs, upper surface with two glands near the junction of the petiole, lower surface with numerous pale yellow glands; petiole and terminal bud densely clothed in pale or white stellate hairs. Seed germination time 45 to 48 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards to south eastern Queensland. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 800 m. This species is favoured by disturbance and grows in gaps in well developed rain forest or on the margins of rain forest. It is a typical regrowth species in coastal lowland and upland rain forest. Also occurs in Asia, Malesia and the Pacific islands.

Echinus mollissimus (Geiseler) Baill., Adansonia 6: 316(1866). Croton mollissimus Geiseler, Croton. Monogr. : 73(1807), Type: China ?, Herb. Vahl s.n.; Holo: C; photo A. FideSierra et al. (2005), not Forster (1999). Mallotus ricinoides (Pers.) Mull.Arg., Linnaea 34: 187(1865). Mallotus pycnostachys F.Muell., Fragm. 4: 138(1864), Type: Queensland, Mt Elliott, 5 Aug. 1863; holo: MEL. Fide Forster (1999). Croton ricinoides Pers., Syn. 2: 586(1807), Type: India, 1800, Lahaye; Lecto: P-JU 16578, holo: P. Fide Forster (1999). The type may have Malesian origin Sierra el al. (2005).
RFK Code
Copyright © CSIRO 2020, all rights reserved.