Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Pittosporum spinescens (F.Muell.) L.Cayzer, Crisp & I.Telford

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Leaves and Flowers. © CSIRO
Leaves and flowers. © R.L. Barrett
Leaves and Flowers. © CSIRO
Leaves and fruit. © CSIRO
Leaves and fruit. © R.L. Barrett
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO

Cayzer, L.W., Crisp, M.D. & Telford, I.R.H. (2000) Australian Systematic Botany 13(6): 865.

Common name

Wallaby Apple; Orange Thorn; Large Fruited Orange Thorn; Apple, Wallaby; Thorn Bush


A small tree not exceeding 30 cm dbh. Living bark layer quite thin.


Short, lateral, leafy branches or twigs often end in a pungent point. Leaves quite small, leaf blades about 10-15 x 4-7 mm. Leaf bearing twigs clothed in stalked, prostrate hairs attached by the middle.


Calyx about 1-1.5 mm long. Corolla tube about 5-6 mm long. Petals about 2-3 mm long, glabrous throughout. Ovary densely hairy, sericeous. Stigma small, not exceeding the diameter of the style.


Fruit about 2-3 cm diam. Numerous seeds per fruit. Each seed produced on a fleshy funicle or aril. Testa smooth in fresh fruits.


Cotyledon apex shortly mucronate. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf apex almost truncate, margin serrate, underside with a few prostrate hairs; a single spine about 1 cm long present in each leaf axil. Seed germination time 55 to 193 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards as far as north-eastern New South Wales. Not yet found in NT but its occurrence there would not be surprising. Altitudinal range from sea level to 1200 m. Grows in monsoon forest and the drier, more seasonal rain forests and the margins of these communities. Also occurs in Malesia (New Guinea).

Citriobatus spinescens (F.Muell.) Druce, The Botanical Exchange Club and Society of the British Isles Report for 1916, Suppl. 2 : 615(1917). Citriobatus megacarpus F.Muell., Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae 2: 76(1861). Ixiosporum spinescens F.Muell., Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae 2: 76(1861), Type: In virgultis ad flumen Fitzroy, Thozet; prope flumen Dawson, F.M. Citriobatus pauciflorus var. kennyi F.M.Bailey, Queensland Agricultural Journal 30: 402(1913), Type: Gayndah, Dr. F. Hamilton Kenny.
RFK Code
Copyright © CSIRO 2020, all rights reserved.