Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Pleurostylia opposita (Wall.) Alston

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Flowers. © G. Sankowsky
Flowers. © CSIRO
Leaves and Flowers. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Alston, A.H.G. (1931) A Hand-book to the Flora of Ceylon 6 Suppl. : 48.

Common name



A small tree generally less than 20 cm dbh.


Young twigs conspicuously 4-angled. Leaf blades about 2.5-6 x 1-4 cm. Midrib raised on the upper surface. Small oil dots visible with a lens mainly on the underside of the leaf blade.


Inflorescence about 5-7 mm long. Flowers about 3 mm diam. Sepals rounded, about 0.2-0.5 mm long. Petals elliptic or broadly ovate to orbicular, about 1.2-1.5 mm. Stamens inserted outside the disk, filaments about 0.7-0.9 mm long. Disk fleshy, cupular, crenate, about 1.8 mm diam. Ovary about 0.5 mm diam. Locules one or two.


Fruits ellipsoid or obovoid, about 5-7 mm long. Style persistent, lateral.


Cotyledons ovate to elliptic, about 8-13 x 4-8 mm, midrib raised on the upper surface. Stipules small, about 1 mm long. Stems 4-angled. At the tenth leaf stage: seedling glabrous, leaves obovate, apex obtuse, base cuneate; stipules very small, triangular with toothed margins; stem 4-angled or winged. Taproot orange. Seed germination time 161 to 270 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and also in south-eastern Queensland but not yet collected in coastal central Queensland. Altitudinal range from sea level to about 200 m. In CYP and NEQ this species usually grows in beach forest or low scrub on sand dunes close to the sea. Also occurs in New Caledonia, Malesia, Sri Lanka, India and Mozambique.

Natural History & Notes

This species may have medicinal properties.

Celastrus opposita Wallich in Roxb., Fl. Indica 2: 398(1824), Type: Not designated. Elaeodendron microcarpum C.T.White & W.D.Francis, Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland 37: 154(1926), Type: Mt. Perry, Jas. Keys; holo: BRI.
RFK Code
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