Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Niemeyera prunifera (F.Muell.) F.Muell.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flowers. © CSIRO
Flowers. © Barry Jago
Flowers. © Barry Jago
Fruit, several views, transverse section and seed. © W. T. Cooper
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon and 1st leaf stage, hypogeal germination. © CSIRO
Cotyledon and 1st leaf stage, hypogeal germination. © CSIRO

Mueller, F.J.H. von (1869) Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae 7: 114.

Common name

Brown Pearwood; Boxwood, Plum; Rusty Plum; Milky Plum; Plum, Milky; Plum Boxwood; Plum, Rusty; Silky Hornbeam


Bark exudate slow and meagre, mainly from the inner blaze.


Petioles and twigs produce a milky exudate. Young shoots and younger leaf bearing twigs densely clothed in felty, brown hairs. Leaf blades about 5.5-18 x 2-5 cm. Midrib and sometimes the main lateral veins raised on the upper surface of the leaf blade.


Flowers about 4 mm diam., in dense axillary fascicles. Outer surface of the calyx clothed in dense brown hairs. Ovary densely clothed in pale coloured hairs.


Fruits about 24-30 mm diam. Testa thin and fragile. Hilum ovate about 16-18 x 11-13 mm.


A few very densely hairy cataphylls produced before the first true leaves. First pair of true leaves elliptic to obovate. Young leaves clothed in dense, rust coloured hairs. Only a few hairs remaining on the upper surface of older leaves. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade obovate, apex acuminate, base attenuate, upper surface hairy along the midrib at least; lateral veins about 12-16 each side of the midrib; petiole, stem and terminal bud densely clothed in reddish brown hairs. Seed germination time 75 to 107 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in NEQ, CEQ and southwards nearly to Bundaberg. Altitudinal range from sea level to 1600 m. Grows as an understory tree in well developed rain forest on a variety of sites.

Natural History & Notes

Fallen fruit eaten by Cassowaries and Musky Rat-kangaroos. Cooper & Cooper (1994).

Sometimes grows large enough to produce millable logs. Produces a useful general purpose timber.

Wood specific gravity 0.77. Cause et al. (1989).

Lucuma prunifera F.Muell., Select Plants Readily Eligible for Victorian Industrial Culture : 142(1876), Type: [not cited]. Amorphospermum pruniferum (F.Muell.) Baehni, Boissiera 11 : 103(1965). Chrysophyllum pruniferum F.Muell., Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae 6: 26(1868), Type: In silvis ad sinum Rockinghams Bay et ad flumen Mackays River. Dallachy.
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