Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Phaleria octandra (L.) Baill.

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

Baillon, H.E. (1873) Adansonia 11: 321.

Common name

Dwarf Phaleria; Phaleria, Dwarf


Usually flowers and fruits as a shrub about 1-2 m tall.


Leaf blades about 7.5-23 x 2-10 cm, petioles about 0.3-0.9 cm long. Twigs, petioles and leaves glabrous. Twig bark strong, fibrous and fetid when stripped. Petiole grooved on the upper surface.


Inflorescence about 8-25-flowered. Peduncle about 2.5-7 mm long, pedicels short, up to 0.3 mm long. Perianth (hypanthium) hairy, about 8-17 mm long. Lobes petaloid. Stamens eight, arranged in two whorls, prominently exserted. Base of the ovary surrounded by a white slightly lobed or segmented disk. Stigma terminal, papillose.


Mature fruit about 1-1.5 cm long, +/- sessile.


Cataphylls usually produced before the first pair of leaves or among the leaves. First pair of true leaves elliptic or broadly elliptic, about 18-20 x 8-14 mm, glabrous. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade +/- elliptic, apex acute, base attenuate. Seed germination time 37 to 232 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in NT, CYP, NEQ and CEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 800 m. Grows as an understory plant in well developed, undisturbed, lowland and upland rain forest. Also occurs in Malesia.

Natural History & Notes

This small shrub is cultivated for dense clusters of white perfumed flowers which occur at the ends of the stems and the red fruits that follow.

Dias octandra L., Mant. Pl. : 69(1767), Type: India; holo: LINN?. Phaleria pedunculata C.T.White, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Stock. Botany Bulletin 21: 19(1919), Type: Queensland, Yarrabah (Cairns District), N. Michael; holo: BRI?. Phaleria neumannii (F.Muell.) Benth., Flora Australiensis 6: 38(1873). Phaleria blumei var. latifolia Benth., Flora Australiensis 6: 38(1873), Type: Queensland. Cape York, MGillivray, W.Hill, Daemel. Also on Tara and Sumatra. Drimyspermum neumanni F.Muell., Fragm. 5: 26(1865), Type: Queensland, Herbert River, J. Dallachy; holo: MEL?.
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