Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Stemodia lythrifolia F.Muell. ex Benth.

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flower. © R.L. Barrett
Flower. © R.L. Barrett
Leaves and flowers. © R.L. Barrett
Flowers. © Australian Plant Image Index (APII). Photographer: M. Fagg.
Habit. © R.L. Barrett
Herbarium specimen. © DERM

Bentham, G. (1868) Flora Australiensis 4: 486. Type: N. Australia. Common on the rocky islands of the N.W. coast, A. Cunningham, Bynoe; Upper Victoria river, F. Mueller; islands of the Gulf of Carpentaria, R. Brown.


Aromatic subshrub with erect branches up to 80 cm tall; whole plant clothed in dense pale hairs and sessile yellow glandular hairs.


Leaves strongly aromatic when crushed. Leaf blades 30-60 x 6-10 mm, auriculate with petioles very short or nil. Leaf blade densely clothed in pale hairs.


Flowers 12-40 in several dense spikes, 4-angled in fruit; arranged singly in the axils of the bracts; bracts ovate, acute. Sepals more or less equal, 2.5-6 mm long. Corolla white to mauve with deep mauve throut and sometimes striations that extend onto the lobes, 4-5 mm long with long hairs in the throat. Stamens markedly unequal with paired anthers connate.


Capsule encoled in the persistent sepals, ovoid, 3-5 x 1.5-2.7 mm, nearly as long as the sepals, long-acuminate. Seeds 50+, dark brown, ellipsoid-oblong, 0.35-0.5 x 0.15-0.25 mm, with a reticulate surface.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP and NEQ. Altitudinal range from 54-400 m. Grows in rainforest margins, in deciduous vine thicket, Eucalypt woodland, Melaleuca woodland, open shrubland, wooded grassland and Triodia grassland.

Natural History & Notes

In the Kimberley, leaves of this plant are chewed if tobacco is not available (Clarke ).

Stemodiacra lythrifolia (Benth.) Kuntze, Revisio Generum Plantarum 2: 466(1891).
RFK Code
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