Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Santalum lanceolatum R.Br.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Leaves, flowers and buds. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination, half cots in seed coat. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO

Brown, R. (1810) Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae : 356. Type: Queensland, Sweers Island, 18 Nov. 1802, R. Brown; iso: MEL.

Common name

Queensland Sandalwood; Plumwood; Sandalwood, Queensland; True Sandalwood; Tropical Sandalwood; Sandalwood, True; Sandalwood, Tropical; Sandalwood, Northern; Sandalwood, Lanceleaf; Sandalwood, Commercial; Sandalwood; Northern Sandalwood; Northern Sandalbox; Lanceleaf Sandalwood; Commercial Sandalwood; Australian Sandalwood; Sandalwood, Australian


A small tree seldom exceeding 30 cm dbh.


Leaf bearing twigs reddish brown and glabrous. Leaf blades about 3-10 x 1.2-3.5 cm, brittle, cracking and breaking along a straight line when bent. Leaf blades glaucous on both the upper and lower surfaces.


Tepals triangular, cream to pale green, about 3-5 mm long, with hair tufts on the inner surface towards the base. Style about 3-4 mm long, stigma 4-lobed.


Fruits +/- globular, about 7-10 mm diam., apex marked by a tonsure-like scar.


Cotyledons +/- linear, about 10-15 mm long, not clearly differentiated into a lamina and petiole. The upper half of each cotyledon usually remaining in the seed coat, i.e. each cotyledon cut near the middle. First pair of leaves +/- linear, alternate or sub-opposite, penninerved, margins slightly recurved. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade decussate, linear, about 90 x 8 mm; petiole very short, leaf blade +/- sessile; all parts of the seedling completely glabrous. Seed germination time 39 to 404 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to Australia, occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards to most parts of mainland Australia. Altitudinal range in northern Australia from near sea level to 400 m. Usually grows in open forest and woodland but also found in monsoon forest.

Natural History & Notes

Food plant for the larval stages of the Wood White Butterfly. Common & Waterhouse (1981).

This plant entered into Aboriginal medicine for both internal and external use. Leaves were burnt to drive away mosquitoes. Cribb (1981).

May be parasitic on the roots of other plants.

Santalum lanceolatum R.Br. var. lanceolatum, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 601(1928). Santalum lanceolatum var. typicum Domin, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 601(1928). Santalum venosum R.Br., Prodr. : 355(1810), Type: Northern Territory, Caledon Bay, 4 Feb. 1803, R. Brown. Santalum megacarpum Gand., Bull. Soc. Bot. France 66: 232(1919), Type: New South Wales, Cobar, July 1903, J. L. Boorman s.n.; holo: LY; iso: NSW. Fide D. J. McGillivray (1973). Santalum Lanceolatum var. angustifolium Benth., Fl. Austral. 6: 214(1873), Type: Darling River- Coopers Creek, Dallachy & Goodwin, Neilson, New England, C. Stuart. Santalum oblongatum R.Br., Prodr. : 355(1810), Type: Locality?, R. Brown. Santalum leptocladum Gand., Bull. Soc. Bot. France 66: 232(1919), Type: South Australia, Mt Lyndhurst, May 1900, M. Koch 27; holo: LY. Fide D. J. Mc Gillivray, Contr. New South Wales Nat. Herb. 4: 354 91973). Santalum lanceolatum var. venosum F.M.Bailey, Queensland Fl. 5: 1385(1902), Type: Queensland, Somerset, F. L. Jardine. Santalum lanceolatum var. oblongatum (R.Br.) Domin, Biblioth. Bot. 89: 47(1921). Santalum lanceolatum var. venosum (R.Br.) F.M.Bailey, Comp. Cat. Queensland Pl. : 469(1913).
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