Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Molineria capitulata (Lour.) Herb.

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flower. © Barry Jago
Flower with extra tepal. © Barry Jago
Inflorescences and flowers. © CSIRO
Fruit, many views and longitudinal section. © W. T. Cooper
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, hypogeal germination. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO

Herbert, W. (1837) Amaryllidaceae : 84.

Common name

Weevil Lily


Usually flowers and fruits as a palm-like plant about 1 m tall, occasionally flowers when smaller.


Leaf blades longitudinally ribbed or folded. Petioles about 70 cm long, almost as long as the leaf blade. Petiole deeply channelled on the upper surface.


Flower heads about 2-6 cm diam. on peduncles about 2-12 cm long arising from the base of the plant. Outer surface of all perianth parts clothed in pale brown +/- prostrate woolly hairs. Perianth tube about 1-2 mm long. Perianth lobes about 8.5-9.5 x 3-4 mm. Stamens six, about 6-7 mm long, anthers about 4.5-5.5 mm long. Pollen yellow. Ovary +/- unilocular with parietal placentation near the apex but +/- 3-locular with axile placentation towards the base. Style about 10-11 mm long, stigma about as wide at the style.


Fruits about 7-8 x 6-6.5 mm. Surface of the fruit clothed in +/- prostrate, brown stellate hairs. Seeds dark brown, about 1.5-2.3 mm, immersed in a white pulp. Testa rugose and ribbed or grooved. Embryo small, sausage-shaped, about 0.5 mm long.


First pair of leaves linear or narrowly lanceolate, apex aristate, base attenuate, glabrous, sessile or petiole winged and sheathing the stem. Blade longitudinally veined or ribbed. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade linear, apex aristate, base attenuate, petiole clasping the stem. Blade plicate in the bud and longitudinally veined or ribbed when fully expanded. Roots when broken emit an odour like that of parsley (Petroselinum hortense). Seed germination time 98 to 141 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in NT and NEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 300 m. Grows as an understory plant in lowland rain forest in the wetter parts of the rain forest belt. Also occurs in Asia and Malesia.

Natural History & Notes

Widely grown for its large palm-like leaves and ease of cultivation. Previously known as Curculigo.

Leucojum capitulatum Lour., Fl. Cochinch. : 199(1790). Curculigo recurvata W.TAiton, Hortus Kew 2nd edn 2: 253(1811), Type: cult. Hort. Kew ex Bengal, 1805; holo: ?. Molineria plicata Colla, Hortus Ripul. : 331-3(1824), Type: cult. Hort. Ripulensis ex Hort. Cels ex ?Sumatra; holo: ?.
RFK Code
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