Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Orites excelsus R.Br.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flowers. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage with 6 leaves, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Brown, R. (1830) Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae - Suppl. 1 : 32. Type: NSW, Hastings River, 1818, C. Fraser.

Common name

Silky Oak; Southern Silky Oak; Oak, Southern Silky; Red Ash; Oak, Silky; Ash, Prickly; Mountain Silky Oak; Oak, Mountain Silky; White Beefwood; Prickly Ash


Oak grain in the wood and a corresponding pattern in the inner blaze.


Oak grain in the twigs. Leaf blades about 4-18 x 1.5-4.5 cm, much paler on the underside. Petioles about 1-2.5 cm long. Lateral veins forming loops inside the blade margin. Terminal buds and very young shoots clothed in rusty brown hairs. Petioles and basal part of the midrib often pink or reddish.


Flowers paired, sessile or shortly pedicellate, without a common peduncle. Tepals about 8 mm long. Hypogynous glands four, subulate. Ovary sessile, ferruginous hairy. Ovules 2.


Fruits about 3 x 0.9 cm. Seeds winged at one end, seed + wing about 2.5 x 0.6 cm, embryo about 9 x 5 mm.


Cotyledons obovate-oblong about 15 mm long. First few leaves elliptic, margin serrate. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade linear-elliptic, margin irregularly serrate from the base to the apex, each tooth with a short mucro; upper surface with a few scattered, pale hairs, more numerous along the midrib, undersurface with numerous, short, pale brown, prostrate hairs visible with a lens. Terminal bud densely clothed in brown, prostrate hairs. Seed germination time 30 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to Australia, occurs in NEQ and in south-eastern Queensland southwards as far as central eastern New South Wales but absent from coastal central Queensland. Altitudinal range in NEQ from 1000-1550 m. Grows in mountain rain forest, often found in stunted forest on windswept ridges.

Orites excelsa R.Br. var. excelsa, Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae 5: 153(1865). Orites fragrans F.M.Bailey, Report on New Plants, Preliminary to General Report on Botanical Results on Mestons Expedition to the Bellenden-Ker Range : 2(1889), Type: The highest peaks of Bellenden-Ker and also Bartle Frere. Orites fragrans F.M.Bailey, Botany of the Bellenden Ker Expedition (in Meston: Report of the Government Scientific Expedition to Bellenden-Ker Range) : 56(1889), Type: The highest peaks of Bellenden-Ker and also Bartle Frere. Orites excelsa var. fissifolia F.Muell., Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae 5: 153(1865), Type: NSW, Hastings River, Collector Unknown; neo: MEL; isoneo: MEL. FIde George (1995) Fl. Australia 16: 496.
RFK Code
Copyright © CSIRO 2020, all rights reserved.