Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Neolitsea dealbata (R.Br.) Merr.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Male flowers. © Barry Jago
Male flowers. © CSIRO
Leaves and male flowers. © CSIRO
Fruit, several views, cross section and seed. © W. T. Cooper
Leaves and fruit. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Habit, flower, pistil, stamen, staminode, glands, fruit, seedling. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, hypogeal germination. © CSIRO

Merrill, E.D. (1948) Journal of the Arnold Arboretum 29: 200.

Common name

Hairy Leaved Bollygum; Grey Bollywood; Black Ash; Bollygum, Hairy Leaved; Bollygum, White; Bollywood, Grey; Bollywood, White; Pigeon-berry Tree; Velvet-leaf Bollywood; White Bollygum; White Bollywood; Native Mulberry


Seldom exceeding 30 cm dbh. Blaze darkens to dull brown on exposure.


Twigs terete, clothed in long, tortuous, white or pale brown, erect hairs which persist even on mature twigs. Leaves almost whorled or clustered in groups of 3-5. Leaf blades about 8-22 x 3.5-8.5 cm, white or glaucous on the underside, clothed in straight and tortuous, brown or pale brown, appressed hairs which persist to some extent even on old leaves. Midrib raised on the upper surface. Petioles flat or channelled on the upper surface. Oil dots visible with a lens.


Inflorescence bracts absent at anthesis. Male flowers: Tepals about 2.4-6 mm long, usually with a pistillode. Stamens about 4-8 per flower. Female flowers: Tepals about 1.7-2.3 mm long. Glands attached close to the base of the inner staminodes. Ovary glabrous or hairy towards the apex.


Fruits globular, about 9-11 x 8.5-11 mm. Receptacle about 7-9.5 x 3.5-5 mm. Seed about 5.5-7 x 5.5-9 mm. Cotyledons cream or white.


First pair of leaves lanceolate or ovate, about 26-39 x 12-18 mm, white or glaucous on the underside, 3-veined at the base. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves elliptic to ovate, apex acuminate, base cuneate, upper surface glabrous or with a few hairs near the base of the midrib and about the margin of the leaf blade, underside glaucous or almost white; oil dots small, visible with a lens; leaves alternate or in whorls of three; cataphylls often occur among the true leaves. Seed germination time 36 to 231 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to Australia, occurs in CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards as far as south-eastern New South Wales. Altitudinal range from sea level to 1150 m. Grows in rain forest and wet sclerophyll forest. This species is favoured by disturbance and is a typical component of rain forest regrowth.

Natural History & Notes

Fruit eaten by Cassowaries, Fruit Pigeons and presumably most other frugivorous birds. Cooper & Cooper (1994).

Food plant for the larval stages of the Blue Triangle Butterfly. Common & Waterhouse (1981). This species does not grow large enough to produce millable logs. Wood specific gravity 0.68. Hyland (1989).

Bryantea dealbata (R.Br.) Raf., Sylva Telluriana : 165(1838). Litsea dealbata (R.Br.) Steud., Nomenclator Botanicus 2 : 488(1846). Litsea dealbata (R.Br.) Steud. var. dealbata, Prodromus 15(1): 224(1864). Malapoenna dealbata (R.Br.) Kuntze, Revisio Generum Plantarum 2: 571(1891). Tetranthera dealbata R.Br., Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae : 403(1810), Type: R. Brown 3013, Port Jackson (Lectotype: BM, iso: K, MEL, NY, QRS). Litsea rufa Nees, Systema Laurinarum : 631(1836), Type: Ad Brisbane fluvium, Novae Hollandiae. Vidi specimen arboris femineae in Herbario Arnottiano, a cl. Hookero datum. Litsea dealbata var. typica Domin, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 679(1928), Type: Nordost-Queensland: Regenwalder bei Harveys creek (DOMIN XII 1909), mit Fruchten. Litsea baueri Endl., Iconographia Genera Plantarum : t. 4(1838), Type: Habitat in Nova Hollandia orientali (Ferd. Bauer). Litsea dealbata var. glabrata Meisn., Prodromus 15(1): 224(1864), Type: Nova Holl. (Mus. Paris. n. 299!). Litsea dealbata var. incisa Meisn., Prodromus 15(1): 515(1864), Type: Ad Pine river, Moreton-Bay (F. M~yll.! nil nisi folia in hb. DC.). Litsea dealbata var. rufa Benth., Flora Australiensis 5: 308(1870), Type: Brisbane river, Moreton Bay, Fraser, F. Mueller, W. Hill, Leichhardt; Blue Mountains, Miss Atkinson.
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