Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Tasmannia insipida R.Br. ex DC.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Fruit, side views and seeds. © W. T. Cooper
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Candolle, A.P. de (1817) Regni Vegetabilis Systema Naturale 1 : 445. Type: New South Wales, Port-Jackson, R. Brown; lecto: herb DC. Fide Vink (1970) Blumea 18: 311.

Common name

Pepper Tree; Brush Pepperbush; Faint Pepper Bush; Pepper Bush


Usually flowers and fruits as a shrub about 2-5 m tall.


Leaves clustered in whorls or tight spirals at the ends of the twigs. Leaf blades about 11-21 x 2-5 cm, petioles about 0.2-0.4 cm long, channelled on the upper surface. Oil dots visible with a lens if not visible to the naked eye. Lateral veins forming loops well inside the blade margin. Lateral veins more conspicuous on the upper surface of the leaf blade.


Perianth in two whorls of two, two outer lobes +/- enclosing the two inner lobes, about 16-17 x 3 mm. Stamens about 55-70, spirally arranged around the rudimentary ovary, central anthers maturing first. Stigma +/- sessile, extending from the apex to the base on one side of the ovary.


Fruits (fruiting carpels) about 15 x 9 mm with a suture or line down one side. About 20 seeds per fruiting carpel, each seed about 3 x 2 mm. Embryo very small, cotyledons very short, apex rounded.


Cotyledons about 5-9 x 3-6 mm. First pair of leaves alternate, +/- ovate, marked by small oil dots or glands, glabrous, white or glaucous on the underside. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves glaucous on the underside. Oil dots more abundant near the blade margin. Lateral veins forming loops inside the blade margin. Petiole about 1-3 mm long. Stems with two ridges running down from each petiole and stopping just before the next lowest leaf. Seed germination time 22 to 114 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in NEQ, CEQ and southwards as far as south eastern New South Wales. Altitudinal range in NEQ from 300-1500 m. Grows as an understory plant in upland and mountain rain forest.

Drimys insipida (R.Br. ex DC.) Pilg., Die Naturlichen Pflanzenfamilien Nachtr. III to 3(2) 3: 108(1906).
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