Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Syzygium forte (F.Muell.) B.Hyland subsp. forte

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Flowers and buds. © B. Gray
Fruit, three views and cross section. © W. T. Cooper
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, hypogeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Hyland, B.P.M. (1983) Australian Journal of Botany Supplementary Series 9: 89.

Common name

Watergum; Satinash, Brown; Satinash, Flaky Barked; Flaky Barked Satinash; Brown Satinash; Apple, White; White Apple


Bark brown to orange brown, tending to be papery.


Leaf blades rather large, about 7-14 x 4-9 cm, thick and leathery, about 8-15 pairs of lateral veins. Oil dots visible with a lens if not visible to the naked eye. Larger twigs with papery or flaky bark.


Bracts present or absent at anthesis. Calyx tube (hypanthium) + pedicel about 6-12 mm long, calyx tube (hypanthium) about 6-8 mm diam., calyx lobes +/- uniform (sometimes one lobe longer than the rest), rounded to broadly triangular, about 1-2 mm long. Petals +/- orbicular, shortly clawed, about 6 mm diam., oil dots visible, smallish, about 100 per petal. Outer staminal filaments about 9-18 mm long, anthers about 0.8-1 x 0.7 mm, gland dorsal, near the apex of the anther. Ovules about 25-35 per locule, placentas central, ovules radiating, ascending. Style about 8-14 mm long, shorter than the stamens.


Fruits depressed globular, globular-ovoid or doliform, about 30-40 x 30-40 mm, calyx lobes persistent, about 2 mm long, pericarp fleshy, but coarsely granular close to the seed. Seed solitary, globular, slightly bilobed, about 10-25 mm diam., testa adhering to the pericarp and adhering slightly to the rugose surface of the cotyledons by means of granular horny intrusions, cotyledons uniformly textured except for the +/- ruminate peripheral section.


Cataphylls about 2-7 pairs. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade elliptic to obovate, apex obtuse to shortly acuminate, base cuneate or attenuate, glabrous; oil dots easily seen with a lens. Seed germination time 23 to 103 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in NT, CYP and NEQ. Altitudinal range from sea level to 450 m. Grows in well developed rain forest but is most characteristic of beach forest either on sand or on rocky headlands. Also occurs in New Guinea.

Natural History & Notes

Fallen fruit eaten by Cassowaries. Cooper & Cooper (1994). This species has potential in horticulture as a shade tree for parks and gardens and as a street tree. Can withstand strong winds and has large white flowers and fruits.

This subspecies occasionally produces millable logs which are marketed under the trade name of Flaky-barked Satinash. Wood specific gravity 0.69-0.96. The fruit is sometimes eaten but has no commercial value. Hyland (1983).

Syzygium forte (F.Muell.) B.Hyland, Australian Journal of Botany Supplementary Series 9: 88(1983). Eugenia fortis F.Muell., Fragm. Phytogr. Austral. 5: 13(1865), Type: Rockingham Bay, J. Dallachy, holo: MEL. Syzygium rubiginosum Merr. & L.M.Perry, Journal of the Arnold Arboretum 23: 289(1942), Type: British New Guinea: Lake Daviumbu, Middle Fly River, Brass 7491 (type), 7510, August 1936.
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