Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Myrsine subsessilis subsp. cryptostemon Jackes

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flowers. © Barry Jago
© Barry Jago
Leaves and fruit. © G. Sankowsky
Fruit, many views, cross section and seed. © W. T. Cooper
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon & 1st leaf stage, lower surface, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
Cotyledon and 1st leaf stage, upper surface, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Jackes, B.R. (2005) Australian Systematic Botany 18: 37. Type: Queensland, Herberton State Forest, A. Kanis 2160; Holo: CANB; Iso BRI.

Common name

Red Muttonwood; Rapanea Shrub; Muttonwood, Red


Usually flowers and fruits as a shrub about 1-3 m tall but can grow to a height of about 6 m.


Leaf blades about 10-17 x 2.6-6 cm, usually closely spaced, sometimes forming pseudowhorls. Petioles quite short, about 0.3 cm long. Oil dots red, +/- circular in outline, the larger ones visible to the naked eye. Lateral veins forming loops inside the blade margin. Midrib raised on the upper surface of the leaf blade.


Inflorescences produced in the axils of the leaves or on twigs behind the leaves. Inflorescence much shorter than the leaves, barely exceeding the petioles. Flowers +/- sessile or pedicels 2-5mm long. Calyx, corolla and ovary marked with red, orange or brownish oil dots. Corolla tube about 0.5 mm long, corolla lobes about 2-2.5 mm long. Anthers +/- sessile. Ovary about 0.6 x 0.5 mm. Ovules 5.


Infructescence much shorter than the leaves. Calyx lobes persistent at the base of the fruit. Fruits dark blue when ripe (royal blue (?)), globular or depressed globular, about 5-8 x 6-9 mm. Oil dots visible on the exocarp. Endocarp marked with pale longitudinal lines. Cotyledons about as wide as the radicle.


Cotyledons elliptic to obovate, about 9-14 x 6-9 mm, margins toothed. Oil dots red. Pale orange glands visible on the hypocotyl, the cotyledonary petioles and the underside of the cotyledons. Dark red glandular hairs also visible on the stem. First true leaves in a tight spiral much like a whorl, leaf blades about 12-15 x 7-8 mm, petioles 1-1.5 mm long, margins usually toothed. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade about 7 x 2 cm, margin toothed with most teeth towards the apex of the leaf blade. Leaves with mainly red oil dots which are visible with a x10 lens and perhaps just visible to the naked eye. Petiole about 4-5 mm long. Stem and terminal bud clothed in pale pink hairs. Seed germination time 80 to 258 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to Australia, occurs in CYP and NEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 1300 m. Grows as an understory plant in undisturbed lowland, upland and mountain rain forests.

Rapanea subsessilis subsp. (Gordonvale S.T. Blake 9734), Names & Distribution of Queensland Plants, Algae & Lichens : 119(2002), Type: Queensland, Gordonvale, Blake 9734. Rapanea subsessilis (F.Muell.) Mez, Das Pflanzenreich Heft 9 : 354(1902). Myrsine subsessilis F.Muell., Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae 4: 81(1864), Type: Syntypes: Moreton Bay, L. Leichhardt; Mt Lindsay, W. Hill; Clarence river, H.Beckler; Richmond River, C. Moore; MEL.
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