Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Rhamnus napalensis (Wall.) M.A.Lawson

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Flowers. © Barry Jago
Fruit. © Barry Jago
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
Vine stem transverse section. © CSIRO

Lawson, M.A. (1875) J. D. Hooker, Flora of British India 1: 640.


Usually grows into a vine but also flowers and fruits as a shrub. Vine stem diameters to 5 cm recorded. Heartwood dark reddish brown, sapwood yellow or ochre.


Leaf blades broadly lanceolate to elliptic, about 7-11 x 2-4.5 cm, leaves alternately large and small. Petioles about 1-1.5 cm long, channelled on the upper surface. Lateral veins about 8-13, curving but not forming distinct loops inside the blade margin. Stipules linear, caducous, about 2-3 mm long, hairy. Domatia, if present, are small tufts of hair.


Flowers about 3-4 mm diam. Calyx lobes about 1.5-2 mm long, hypanthium about 1 mm long. Inner surface of the hypanthium glandular. Petals and stamens about 1 mm long, petals +/- spathulate, enveloping the stamens until anthesis. Style with two or three branches and two or three stigmas.


Fruits red when ripe, depressed globular, often wider than long, about 6-7 x 7-9 mm. Seeds about 4-5 x 3-3.5 mm, turbinate or shaped like a grape (Vitus spp.) seed, but channelled or depressed on one side. Radicle about 0.5-0.7 mm long, cotyledons much larger and curved.


Cotyledons obreniform, about 9-10 x 12-14 mm, apex broadly retuse. Venation palmate with fine veins radiating from the base. First pair of leaves alternate, margins toothed (+/- serrate with the tip of each tooth bent inwards). At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade margin crenate, each tooth with a small gland or process on the inner edge. Stipules about 2 mm long, terete with thickened bases. Terminal buds densely clothed in short pale hairs, stems and petioles similarly clothed. Seed germination time 20 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in NEQ. Altitudinal range from 450-900 m. Grows in upland rain forest often in association with Kauri Pine (Agathis robusta). Also occurs in Malesia.

Ceanothus napalensis Wall., Roxb. Flora of British India ed. Carey 2: 375(1824), Type: Wallich, Nepal. (?).
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