Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Sphalmium racemosum (C.T.White) B.G.Briggs, B.Hyland & L.A.S.Johnson

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Flowers [not vouchered]. © G. Sankowsky
Flowers. © A. Ford & F. Goulter
Flowers. © A. Ford & F. Goulter
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Briggs, B.G., Hyland, B.P.M. & Johnson, L.A.S. (1975) Australian Journal of Botany 23: 166.

Common name

Oak, Satin Silky; Oak, Poorman's Fishtail; Oak, Mt Lewis; Oak, Buff Silky; Mt Lewis Oak; Poorman's Fishtail Oak; Satin Silky Oak; Buff Silky Oak


Oak grain in the wood and a corresponding pattern in the inner blaze.


Oak grain in the twigs. Leaf blades about 6-15 x 1.5-3 cm tapering to the petiole. Petioles yellow. Lateral veins forming loops well inside the blade margin. Terminal buds and very young shoots clothed in rusty brown hairs. Old leaves turn yellow prior to falling. Compound leaves frequently present on coppice shoots.


Inflorescences small, about 15-20 mm long, pedicels 1-2 mm long. Flowers not paired, borne singly in the axil of a bract about 3 mm long. Tepals glabrous or sparsely pubescent on the outer surface, about 4.5-6 mm long. Anthers about 2.5 mm long, filaments about 2 mm long. Hypogynous glands absent. Ovary about 1.5 mm long, densely ferruginously hairy, very shortly stalked, ovules 2.


Follicles, including the stipe and short beak, obliquely narrow-obovate, about 4.5-5 x 1.5-1.8 x 0.5 cm. Seeds flat, one or two per fruit, wing marginal, retuse at one end, seed + wing about 3 x 1.2-1.4 cm. Embryo about 17-18 x 10- 12 mm.


Cotyledons elliptic to obovate, about 25 x 12-17 mm. First pair of leaves simple with 1-3 teeth on each margin towards the apex. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade simple, elliptic or lobed, or leaves trifoliolate or pinnate; margins of leaf or leaflet blades serrate, teeth generally along the upper half of the leaf or leaflet blade. Seed germination time 24 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to NEQ, known only from Alexandra Creek, Roaring Meg Creek, the Windsor Tableland and the Mt Spurgeon-Mt Lewis area. Altitudinal range from 500-1400 m. Grows in well developed upland and mountain rain forest. This species is quite common throughout its range.

Natural History & Notes

Produces a decorative cabinet timber with a conspicuous oak grain.

Wood specific gravity 0.56 Cause et al. (1989).

Orites racemosa C.T.White, Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland 50: 85(1939), Type: Mount Spurgeon, C.T. White, 10621 (nearly mature flowers and seed capsules mostly open), Sept., 1936 (large tree in rain-forest).
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