Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Tabernaemontana orientalis R.Br.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Flowers. © CSIRO
Leaves and flowers. © R.L. Barrett
Leaves, fruit and arillous seed. © CSIRO
Leaves and fruit. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO

Brown, R. (1810) Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae : 468. Type: Lectotype: Australia. Sin. loc., 2.xi.1802, R.Brown [Iter Australiense 2858] (lecto: BM [photo at BRI!]; isolecto: K [photo at BRI!]).

Common name

Banana Bush; Rosebay


Usually grows into a small tree not exceeding 30 cm dbh but occasionally flowers and fruits as a shrub.


Twigs and petioles produce a milky exudate. Stipules small and inconspicuous, wedged between the petiole and the twig. Leaf blades about 7-10 x 3-5 cm, petioles about 0.5-1 cm long. Lateral veins about 8-15 on each side of the midrib, curving but not forming definite loops inside the blade margin. Both the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf blade hairy.


Flowers about 12-20 mm diam. Calyx lobes about 1 mm long clothed in erect hairs. Corolla tube about 12 mm long, lobes about 10 mm long, margins usually flounced. Stamens attached above the middle of the corolla tube.


Fruits produce a milky exudate when cut or damaged. Fruiting carpels about 10-20 x 10-15 mm, usually paired, +/- boat-shaped and attached by their sterns. Seeds about 7 x 4 mm, testa marked by grooves or furrows which intrude into the endosperm.


Cotyledons ovate to elliptic, about 20-25 x 15-20 mm, apex obtuse, base cuneate. Elongated 'oil dots' visible with a lens. First pair of leaves ovate, about 3.5 x 1.5 cm, glabrous, margins smooth. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves elliptic, apex acuminate, base cuneate or attenuate; a short upright flange present in the leaf axil between the stem and petiole. Seed germination time 125 to 222 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Widespread in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and also in south-eastern Queensland. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 450 m. Grows in monsoon forest and drier rain forest. Also occurs in SE Asia, Malesia and the Pacific islands. Now regarded as a form of T. pandacaqui but maintained as a separate entity in this key.

Ervatamia orientalis (R.Br.) Domin, Repertorium Novarum Specierum Regni Vegetabilis 12: 97(1913). Ervatamia pubescens (R.Br.) Domin, Repertorium Specierum Novarum Regni Vegetabilis 12 : 96(1913). Ervatamia pubescens var. typica Domin, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 1078(1928). Ervatamia pubescens var. superba Domin, Repertorium Specierum Novarum Regni Vegetabilis 12 : 97(1913), Type: North-East Queensland; Cape York, leg. John Mac Gillivray, November 17th 1849, flowering (Voyage of Rattlesnake, Botany no. 496). Ervatamia pubescens var. grandiflora Domin, Repertorium Specierum Novarum Regni Vegetabilis 12 : 96(1913), Type: Northern Australia: Port Darwin, leg. F. Schulz sub no. 628. Ervatamia pubescens (R.Br.) Domin var. pubescens, Repertorium Specierum Novarum Regni Vegetabilis 12 : 96(1913). Tabernaemontana pubescens R.Br., Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae : 468(1810), Type: North Coast, [ Good Island, Prince of Wales Island] R. Brown [ Iter Australiense 2859].
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