Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Polyscias spectabilis (Harms) Lowry & G.M.Plunkett

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Fruit. © CSIRO
Fruit and infructescence. © CSIRO
Leaves. © CSIRO
Stem and inflorescence buds. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO

Lowry, P.P. & Plunkett, G.M. (2010) Plant Diversity and Evolution 128(1-2): 74-75.


Usually a single-stemmed tree without branches until it reaches the forest canopy. Bark exudate (if visible) slow and meagre.


Compound leaf rhachis swollen at the point of attachment of each pair of leaflets. Leaflet blades large, about 10-15 x 4-8 cm, margins wavy, stalks about 0.2-0.8 cm long. Young leaves and shoots clothed in stellate or branched hairs.


Inflorescence about 100-300 cm diam., produced in forks well below the leaves. Flowers in umbels of 5-12 flowers. Calyx smooth, not toothed. Petals 6-12, very fleshy. Stamens about 25-65, filaments short. Ovary about 10-20-celled with an equal number of styles.


Fruits +/- globular, about 12-12 mm diam. Styles persistent at the apex.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in NEQ, known only from collections made in the Bloomfield-Rossville area. Altitudinal range not known, but collected at 200 m. Grows in disturbed areas in lowland and upland rain forest. Also occurs in Papua New Guinea, Bismark Islands, New Ireland and the Solomon Islands.

Natural History & Notes

Possibly the largest araliad known. The vegetative shoots arise in pairs or whorls from below the terminal inflorescence buds. Several flushes of growth occur as an inflorescence bud matures so that at anthesis the inflorescences are situated in forks well below the leafy crown with a succession of younger inflorescence buds in higher forks. Philipson (1979).

Peekeliopanax spectabilis Harms, Notizbl. Berl.-Dahl. 9: 478 (1926), Type: New Guinea, Bismarck Archipelago, Peekel 1001 (B). Gastonia spectabilis (Harms) PhilipsonBlumea 18: 494 (1970).
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