Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Pisonia umbellifera (J.R.Forst. & G.Forst.) Seem.

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Flowers and buds. © Barry Jago
Flower. © Barry Jago
Fruit [not vouchered]. CC-BY J.L. Dowe
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Seemann, B.C. (1862) Bonplandia 10 : 154.

Common name

Birdlime Tree; Cabbagewood; Pisonia


Frequently a crooked, short boled tree. Blaze rather soft +/- the texture of a potato (Solanum tuberosum), darkening on exposure.


Leaves generally crowded at the ends of the branchlets in groups of about 2-5. Leaf bearing twigs usually green. Leaf blades often rather large, about 10-25 cm long. Young shoots and terminal buds clothed in very short, dark brown hairs.


Perianth tube about 4-4.5 mm long, lobes about 2 mm long. Tepals bilobed, +/- papillose on the inner surface near the apex. Stamens ten, filaments alternately long and short, fused towards the base. Stigma papillose or fimbriate.


Fruits very sticky when ripe, about 30 x 6 mm, 4-angled, the angles glandular and secreting a sticky exudate. Cotyledons folded and rolled parallel to the long axis.


Cotyledons cordate or broadly ovate, about 35-50 mm long. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade narrowly obovate, glabrous, apex acuminate, base cuneate; terminal bud clothed in rusty brown hairs. Seed germination time 17 to 21 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards to coastal central New South Wales. Altitudinal range from sea level to 750 m. Grows in well developed rain forest on a variety of sites. Also occurs in Madagascar, SE Asia, Malesia and the Pacific islands.

Natural History & Notes

This species may have medicinal properties. ( /herbage/A20526.htm)

Leaf, bark and stem material of this species was active against some tumors. Collins et al. (1990).

Ceodes umbellifera Forster & G.Forster, Char. Gen. Pl. : 141(1776), Type: from Tanna,Forster s. n.; holo; BM. Pisonia mooriana F.Muell., Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae 1: 20(1858), Type: In silvis ad Illawarra detexit Car. Moore. Pisonia brunoniana Endl., Prodromus Florae Norfolkicae : 43(1833), Type: Crescit in insula Norfolk, mense Septembri florens (Ferd. Bauer.). Pisonia excelsa Blume, Bijdragen tot de Flora van Nederlandsch Indie No. 7 : 735(1827), Type: in sylvis montium Salak, Gede, Pantjar, Parang, etc.
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