Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Paphia meiniana (F.Muell.) Schltr.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Flowers. © CSIRO
Leaves and Flowers. © CSIRO
Fruit, two views and cross section. © W. T. Cooper
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, Epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Vine stem bark and vine stem transverse section. © CSIRO

Schlechter, F.R.R. (1918) Botanische Jahrbucher fur Systematik 55: 183.

Common name

Misty Bells; Agapetes


Usually grows as an epiphyte in the crowns of large trees and behaves +/- as a vine. (Vine stem diameters to 4 cm recorded.) However, in rocky situations particularly on mountain tops it grows, flowers and fruits as a shrub. Vascular rays probably larger and more obvious in the bark in transverse sections of the stem. Blaze sticky to the touch.


Leaf blades rather thick and leathery, about 3.5-11.5 x 1.5-4 cm, petioles about 0.2-0.4 cm long, channelled on the upper surface. Very small dark brown to dark red glandular spots sparsely distributed on the underside of the leaf blade, visible with a lens. Each leaf with two major pairs of lateral veins, the lowermost pair extending +/- from the base to about half way up the leaf blade while the next pair extend almost to the apex and loop inside the blade margin.


Calyx lobes broadly triangular. Corolla fleshy, long and tubular, tube usually about 25-35 mm long, lobes about 1-2 mm long. Stamens 12, anthers golden brown, about 15-16 mm long, filaments much shorter than the anthers, white to pale red. Anther slits confined to the top 1/4 of each anther. Ovary pentagonal in transverse section, ovules numerous.


Fruit globular, about 8-12 mm diam., pedicel about 20 mm long. Calyx lobes (5) persistent at the base. Seeds numerous in each fruit. Seeds angular, about 2 x 1 mm. Testa +/- foveate. Endosperm and embryo translucent. Embryo small, curved, about 1 mm long, cotyledons small, shorter than but no wider than the radicle.


Cotyledons elliptic, short, about 3-5 x 2-3 mm, venation not obvious, petioles short. First pair of true leaves and stem clothed in two types of hairs, pale hairs and larger glandular, clavate reddish hairs. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade ovate, thick and fleshy, apex acuminate, base obtuse, midrib and main lateral veins depressed on the upper surface; glandular, clavate hairs visible on the underside of the leaf blade, each arising from a dark spot or gland on the leaf blade. Stems reddish. Seed germination time 26 to 39 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to NEQ, occurs on and near Mt Bartle Frere, the Bellenden Ker Range, Mt Lewis, Mt Spurgeon, the Windsor Tableland, Thornton Peak and Mt Finnigan. Altitudinal range from 700-1500 m. Grows as an epiphytic vine in well developed rain forest and as a shrub in stunted, windswept rain forest on mountain tops.

Natural History & Notes

This very attractive scrambling shrub that produces red, waxy, tubular flowers has been cultivated in hanging baskets.

Agapetes meiniana F.Muell., The Victorian Naturalist 3: 158(1887), Type: On the summit of Mount Bellenden-Ker; Sayer and Davidson.
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