Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Sterculia shillinglawii F.Muell.

Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flowers [not vouchered]. © G. Sankowsky
Flowers [not vouchered]. © G. Sankowsky
Leaves and flowers [not vouchered]. © G. Sankowsky
Fruit. © CSIRO
Leaves and fruit. © CSIRO
Dehiscing fruit and side view. © W. T. Cooper
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
1st leaf stage, cotyledons absent. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Mueller, F.J.H. von (1887) Australasian Journal of Pharmacy 2 : 44. Type: New Britain, 1886, R. Parkinson; holo: MEL; iso: K.

Common name

Tulip Sterculia


Fine oak grain in the wood, and a corresponding pattern in the inner blaze with spongy patches surrounded by fibrous stripes forming a pattern resembling a net.


Leaf blades about 8-15 x 4.4-8.3 cm. Numerous stellate hairs visible with a lens on the lower surface of the leaf blade and sometimes also on the upper surface. Oak grain in the twigs and expanded rays in the twig bark. Large pores in the twig pith visible with a lens or the naked eye. Twig bark strong and fibrous when stripped. Terminal buds and younger leafy twigs clothed in brown simple and stellate hairs.


Inflorescence produced just below the leaves, about 10-20 cm long, densely stellate hairy or scurfy. Male, female and hermaphrodite flowers produced in the same inflorescence. Pedicels about 7-20 mm long. Flowers densely stellate hairy, perianth tube campanulate-urceolate, about 2-3.5 mm long and about 3 mm diam., generally glabrous on the inner surface, occasionally pubescent at the base, lobes lanceolate, about as long as the tube, apices cohering. Anthers 10-12, crowded into a globular head, about 0.75 mm diam. Ovary about 2 x 2-3 mm, densely pubescent. Carpels 5, each carpel with about 8-10 ovules.


Follicles oblong or linear, about 4-8.5 x 1-2 cm, tomentose to sparsely stellate hairy outside, glabrous inside. Outer surface bright orange-red, inner surface pale peach-coloured. Seeds six or seven per carpel, ellipsoid or obovoid, about 11-16 x 7-11 mm. Testa(?) three-layered. Outer surface black, thin and papery. Middle layer green, soft and creamy like the flesh of ripe avocado (Persea gratissima). Inner layer brown. Hilum white.


First pair of leaves narrowly cordate to cordate-elliptic, apex acuminate, base cordate. Lower surface of the leaf blade hairy, upper surface hairy along the midrib. Stipules linear, about 1 mm long, densely hairy. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade elliptic or obovate, apex acuminate, base auriculate, upper surface with a few hairs along the midrib. Upper surface of the leaf blade sparsely clothed in simple and +/- sessile stellate hairs. Lower surface of the leaf blade densely clothed in simple and +/- sessile stellate hairs. Petiole, stem and terminal bud clothed in pale brown, simple and stellate hairs. Pulvinus elongated. Stipules lanceolate, about 4 mm long. Seed germination time 11 to 21 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 100 m. Grows in gallery forest. Also occurs in eastern Malesia.

RFK Code
Copyright © CSIRO 2020, all rights reserved.