Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Parsonsia straminea (R.Br.) F.Muell.

Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flower. © Barry Jago
Flowers. © CSIRO
Leaves and Flowers. © CSIRO
Fruit, dehiscing fruit and seeds. © W. T. Cooper
Leaves and fruits. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage with 8 leaves, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
Vine stem transverse section. © CSIRO

Mueller, F.J.H. von (1863) The Plants Indigenous to the Colony of Victoria 2: t. 58.

Common name

Silkpod, Milky; Silkpod, Green-leaved; Silkpod, Common; Common Silkpod; Monkey Rope


Vine stem diameters to 9 cm recorded. Bark exudate pale watery brown or honey-coloured. When stem transverse sections are viewed with a lens, straight or slightly curved, tangentially elongated segments can be seen included in the wood. Sometimes these segments are reddish in colour.


Leaf blades much paler on the underside, rather thick and leathery, about 9-16.5 x 3-8.5 cm, petioles about 1.5-2.5 cm long. Lateral veins forming loops inside the blade margin. Stems and petioles produce a honey-coloured exudate. Scars on the twigs look very much like stipular scars but stipules are not present even on young shoots. However, small peg-like glands may be visible on the twigs between the petiole bases.


Inflorescence about 22 cm long. Flowers about 8 mm diam. on pedicels about 4 mm long. Calyx lobes about 3 mm long. Corolla tube about 2 mm long, hairy around the throat, lobes about 4-4.5 mm long, hairy towards the base. Anthers about 3.5 mm long, fused together to form a cone around the style and stigma. Anther locules dehiscing only near the apex, each locule ending in a tail at the base. Staminal filaments about 2 mm long. Pollen white. Ovary surrounded by a 5-lobed disk. Ovary green, about 1 mm long. Style about 2 mm long. Stigma green and sticky.


Fruits about 11-27 x 1.5 cm. Seeds numerous, each about 10-15 mm long, with a plume of hairs attached at one end. Plumes about 25-50 mm long. Embryo about 8-9 mm long. Radicle shorter and narrower than the cotyledons.


Cotyledons ovate to elliptic, about 17-20 x 8-10 mm, underside purple in colour, petioles clothed in hairs. Both the upper and lower surfaces of the cotyledons clothed in papillose hairs but only along the midrib and lateral veins. First leaves shorter than the cotyledons. Leaf blades elliptic to elliptic-ovate, purplish below, both the upper and lowers surfaces clothed in short hairs. Seed germination time 31 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards as far as south eastern New South Wales. Altitudinal range in CYP and NEQ from near sea level to 1200 m. Grows in a variety of types of rain forest on a variety of rocks. Also found on the margins of rain forest and eucalypt forest which is not burned very frequently.

Natural History & Notes

Field evidence suggests that this species may be poisonous to stock but the evidence is not conclusive. Everist (1974).

Food plant for the larval stages of the Cairns Hamadryad and Common Crow Butterflies. Sankowsky & Neilsen (2000).

Food plant for the larval stages of the Australian Crow Butterfly. Common & Waterhouse (1981).

Lyonsia straminea R.Br., Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae : 466(1810), Type: Hunters & Williams Rivers, NSW Oct.- Nov. 1804, R. Brown, fide J. Britten, J. Bot. 14: 235 - 236 (1907). Holo: BM; iso: CANB, MEL. Lyonsia reticulata F.Muell., Essay on the plants collected by E. Fitzalan during Leiut. Smith's Expedition to the Estuary of the Burdekin .. : 16(1860), Type: Moreton Bay, F. Mueller; Hastings River, H. Beckler; Clarence River, H. Beckler; Parsonsia straminea var. glabrata Pichon, Notulae Systematicae, Paris 14: : 13(1950), Type: Queensland, Rockingham Bay, J. Dallachy; holo: P; iso: MEL.
RFK Code
Copyright © CSIRO 2020, all rights reserved.