Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Medinilla balls-headleyi F.Muell.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flower [not vouchered]. © G. Sankowsky
Leaves and Flowers. © CSIRO
Fruit. © CSIRO
Fruits. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
Vine stem transverse section. © CSIRO

Mueller, F.J.H. von (1887) The Australasian Journal of Pharmacy 2 : 125. Type: Queensland, Alice Creek, Russell River, W. Sayer 229; holo: MEL.

Common name

Medinilla, Daintree; Daintree Medinilla; Medinilla


Usually grows as a tree-top vine which climbs by its roots, but occasionally flowers and fruits as a scandent shrub. Vine stem diameters to 5 cm recorded. Outer dead bark pale and papery. Lenticels large and conspicuous.


Leaves usually in whorls of 3 or 4. Leaf blades elliptic-ovate to obovate, about 8-13.5 x 3.5-6.5 cm, mucronate at the apex, petioles about 0.8-2 cm long.


Flowers and buds pink and waxy. Flowers about 20 mm diam. Calyx lobes reduced to five small teeth. Petals about 12 mm long. Stamens 10, dimorphic. Anthers about 12 mm long in the larger stamens and about 6 mm long in the smaller stamens. Each anther with a bilobed ventral appendage and a filiform dorsal appendage at the base. Style about 14 mm long.


Fruits globose, about 11-15 mm diam., rim at the apex about 5 mm diam. Seeds numerous, each about 1 mm long, testa minutely tuberculate. Embryo curved, about 1 mm long, cotyledons somewhat curved, about 0.5 mm long, radicle often longer than the cotyledons.


Cotyledons +/- orbicular, about 2-2.5 mm diam. Petioles very short or absent. First pair of true leaves opposite, +/- orbicular, about 4 mm diam., glabrous. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves in whorls of 3, leaf blades about 55 x 12 mm, tapering gradually to a point at the apex, base attenuate, petioles about 4-5 mm long. Seed germination time 32 to 308 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to Queensland, occurs in CYP and NEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 450 m. Grows in well developed lowland and upland rain forest.

Natural History & Notes

A very ornamental species suited to tropical gardens. Waxy pink flowers are produced behind the leaves and are followed by bright pink fruit which turn purple when ripe.

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