Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Murraya paniculata (L.) Jack

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Leaves and Flowers. © A. Ford & F. Goulter
Leaves and fruit. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Jack, W. (1820) Malay Misc. 1: 31.

Common name

Orange Jasmine; Orange Jessamine; Box, China; China Box; Cosmetic Barktree; Jasmine, Orange; Orange, Mock; Mock Orange


Usually grows into a small, poorly formed tree not exceeding 30 cm dbh but also flowers and fruits as a shrub. Blaze very finely layered.


Terminal or middle leaflet with a pulvinus but lateral leaflets lacking a pulvinus. Leaflet blades about 1.5-8 x 1-4.5 cm. Lateral veins forming loops inside the blade margin.


Calyx puberulent and marked by comparatively large oil glands. Petals glabrous. Stamens ten, dimorphic, five long and five short, anthers glabrous. Ovules 1 or 2 per locule.


Fruits ellipsoid, about 7-12 x 7-8 mm. Seeds about 6-7 x 4 mm, densely hairy on the outer surface. Cotyledons cream.


Cotyledons ovate or elliptic, thick and fleshy without any obvious venation. Oil dots numerous. First pair of leaves simple, margins crenate, oil dots numerous. At the tenth leaf stage: leaflet blades +/- orbicular, oil dots numerous and closely spaced, midrib slightly raised on the upper surface. Stem bark pale and corky. Seed germination time 68 to 95 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards to north-eastern New South Wales. Altitudinal range from sea level to 200 m. Grows in monsoon forest, beach forest, low closed forest and similar vegetation types. Also occurs in SE Asia, Malesia, New Caledonia and Fiji.

Natural History & Notes

Murraya paniculata as described here includes a number of variable forms which are sometimes identified as separate species by different botanists. Native forms often with small leaves are sometimes referred to as Murraya ovatifoliolata but are included here under M. paniculata. Exotic plants in cultivation and sometimes escaping are also included in Murraya paniculata. Further research is required to resolve the uncertainty around how these forms are classified and whether they warrant recognition as separate species.

A small tree that has potential for cultivation in gardens in drier areas. Flowers are greenish yellow.

This species may have medicinal properties.

Chalcas paniculata L., Mantissa plantarum : 68(1767), Type: British India, Linnean Herbarium, London; lecto: LINN. Fide Jackson (1912) Index to the Linnean herbarium. Linn. Soc., London. Murraya exotica L., Mantissa Plantarum : 563(1771), Type: India?.  Murraya ovatifoliolata (Engl.) Domin, (1927) Bibliotheca Botanica 22(89): 850 (1927).  Murraya exotica var. ovatifoliolata Engl., Die Naturlichen Pflanzenfamilien 3(4): 188 (1896).
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