Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Terminalia microcarpa Decne.

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Flowers. © Barry Jago
Leaves and fruit. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Decaisne, J. (1834), Nouvelles Annales du Museum d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris 3: 457. Type: "cette même espéce se retrouve sur les côtes méridionales de la Nouvelle-Hollande, d'où elle a été rapportée parles naturalistes de l'expédition que commandoit le capitaine Baudin."

Common name

Bandicoot; Sovereignwood; Plum, Damson; Damson Plum; Damson


Deciduous; leafless for a period in September or October. Outer dead bark usually quite hard. Blaze fibres often interlocked.


Leaf blades about 6-13.5 x 3-6 cm. Small oil dots visible with a lens. Domatia are foveoles. Old leaves turn red prior to falling.


Inflorescence longer or shorter than the leaves, bracts narrowly triangular, about 1-2 mm long, caducous. Perianth tube sericeous outside, lobes triangular, about 1.5 x 2 mm, apex narrowly acute or acuminate, glabrous or with scattered silky hairs inside. Staminal filaments glabrous, about 2-3 mm long. Disk villous. Style villous.


Mature fruits sparsely sericeous, glabrescent, ovoid, slightly compressed, about 13-18 x 8-10 mm, obscurely angled. Seed about 7-8 x 2 mm, cotyledons convolute.


Cotyledons wider than long, 8-10 x 10-15 mm, apex broadly emarginate, base rounded. Oil dots small, irregular. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade obovate or elongate-obovate, apex acuminate, base attenuate, hairy at least along midrib and margin of leaf blade; oil dots small, visible with a lens; midrib raised on the upper surface of the leaf blade; petiole, stem and terminal bud densely clothed in reddish brown hairs. Seed germination time 14 to 248 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to Australia, occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ and CEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 750 m. Usually grows in well developed rain forest but also found in drier rain forest, monsoon forest and gallery forest. Produces large crops of small fruits which appear to be an important food resource for a number of fruit eating birds.

Natural History & Notes

Fruit eaten by Cassowaries and Fruit Pigeons. Cooper & Cooper (1994).

Produces a useful general constructional purpose timber. Wood specific gravity 0.64. Cause et al. (1989).

Myrobalanus sericocarpa (F.Muell.) Kuntze, Revisio Generum Plantarum 1: 237(1891). Terminalia sericocarpa F.Muell.Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae 9: 159 (1875). Type: Prope Rockhampton, Thozet; ad Mount Elliott, Fitzalan; pone Rockinghams Bay, Dallachy.
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