Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Polyscias murrayi (F.Muell.) Harms

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Inflorescence and flowers. © CSIRO
Fruit and side view. © W. T. Cooper
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Harms, H.A.T. in Engler, H.G.A. & Prantl, K.A.E. (1894) Die Naturlichen Pflanzenfamilien 3(8) : 45.

Common name

Umbrella Tree; Celerywood; Chinky Pine; Murray's Basswood; Pencil Cedar; Pine, Chinky; Cedar, Pencil; White Basswood; Pencil Wood


Small trees produce compound leaves but no branches, i.e. compound leaves attached to the stem. Cream or brown fibrous stripes in the blaze.


Compound leaves with a large number (up to 30 or more) of leaflets. Stipule-like growths produced on the upper surface of the compound leaf rhachis where the leaflets are attached. Leaflet blades about 5-16 x 2-4.5 cm.


Flowers in umbels which are arranged in racemes or panicles. Calyx lobes small. Petals about 2 mm long. Style arms free and divergent following anthesis.


Fruits depressed globular in outline, but conspicuously laterally compressed, about 4-4.5 x 6 x 4 mm, longitudinally ribbed or grooved. Style arms divergent, persisting at the apex of the mature fruit. Embryo very small.


Cotyledons ovate or elliptic, about 5-8 mm long. First pair of leaves simple. At the tenth leaf stage: leaflet blades ovate or linear-ovate, slightly unequal-sided at the base, serrate, glabrous, teeth small; small glands or hairs occur on the rhachis of the compound leaf at the junctions of the leaflet stalks; petioles, stem and terminal bud glabrous. Seed germination time 70 to 152 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to Australia, widespread in NEQ, CEQ and southwards to Victoria. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 1100 m. Usually grows in well developed rain forest. A characteristic tree of disturbed forest particularly along snig tracks and road edges.

Natural History & Notes

A characteristic species along recently constructed roads in rainforest. This species thrives on disturbances.

Fruit eaten by several species of birds. Leaves eaten by Herbert River Ringtail Possums. Cooper & Cooper (1994).

Tieghemopanax murrayi (F.Muell.) R.Vig., Bulletin de la Societie Botanique de France 52 : 310(1905). Panax murrayi F.Muell., Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae 2: 106(1861), Type: In vallibus montium silvaticorum sinum Twofold Bay versus.
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