Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Melicope vitiflora (F.Muell.) T.G.Hartley

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Flower. © Barry Jago
Flowers. © CSIRO
Leaves and Flowers. © CSIRO
Leaves and fruit. © B. Gray
Fruit, side view and dehiscing. © W. T. Cooper
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO

Hartley, T.G. (1990) Telopea 4(1): 34.

Common name

Leatherwood; Toothache Tree; Northern Spermwood; Northern Evodia; Northern Doughwood; Fishpoison Wood; Fish Poison-wood; Coast Euodia; Doughwood, Northern; Leatherjacket; Northern Euodia


Outer dead bark rather corky, particularly towards the base of larger trees.


Leaflet blades about 9-22 x 3.5-9 cm. Stalk of the middle leaflet longer than those of the lateral leaflets. About 7-12 lateral veins on each side of the midrib.


Flowers about 3.5 mm diam. Sepals about 0.8 mm long. Petals about 2 mm long, pubescent on both the outer and inner surfaces. Staminal filaments pubescent. Disk 8-lobed, continuous, glabrous, surrounding the base of the ovary.


Individual fruiting carpels about 5-6 mm long. Seeds about 3 mm diam. Aril shiny black on the outer surface, completely enclosing the seed. Testa slightly pitted or rugose.


Cotyledons elliptic, about 10 mm long. Oil dots more numerous near the margins. At the tenth leaf stage: lateral leaflets unequal-sided at the base; oil dots visible to the naked eye. Lateral veins forming loops inside the blade margin. Seed germination time 31 to 210 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to Australia, occurs in CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards to north-eastern New South Wales. Altitudinal range in CYP and NEQ from sea level to 1100 m. Grows in well developed rain forest on a variety of sites.

Natural History & Notes

Known as the toothache tree, northern Queensland Aborigines placed the juice of this species in the cavity of a decayed tooth to alleviate toothache. Cribb (1981).

Produces a useful general purpose timber.

Wood specific gravity 0.62. Cause et al. (1989).

Euodia vitiflora F.Muell., Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae 7: 144(1871), Type: Queensland, Rockingham Bay, 19 Oct. 1870, Dallachy; holo: MEL. Fide Hartley (2001).
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