Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Tetrardisia bifaria (C.T.White & W.D.Francis) C.T.White

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flowers. © Barry Jago
Fruit, side view and cross section. © W. T. Cooper
Leaves and fruit. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
1st leaf stage, cotyledons absent, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

White, C.T. (1933) Bulletin of Miscellaneous Information, Kew : 45.

Common name

Miniature Spearflower


Usually flowers and fruits as a shrub about 1-2 m tall. Branches produced in whorls like a conifer.


Leaves strictly alternate and arranged in one plane (distichous). Leaf blades about 4.5-7 x 1.2-1.4 cm, petioles about 0.1 cm long. Blade margin red with small but distinct crenations. Venation not obvious on either the upper or lower surface of the leaf blades. Oil dots red or orange, +/- circular in outline.


Sepals narrowly triangular, fused for about 0.5 mm, free part about 1 mm long. Petals triangular, about 5 mm long, base slightly auriculate, marked by elliptic, reddish oil glands. Scattered, small, red glands visible on the outer surface of the ovary. Anthers sessile, narrowly triangular in outline, about 2 mm long. Ovules 2 per ovary, each ovary immersed in fleshy tissue.


Pedicels slender. Calyx persistent at the base of the fruit. Fruit globular, about 8 mm diam. Seeds globular, about 6 mm diam.


Cotyledons linear, about 5-6 x 0.5 mm, venation not apparent. First pair of leaves with a few teeth along the margins. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade +/- sessile, margin undulate, minute hairs present at the base of the leaf blade on the midrib and petiole. Oil dots orbicular, pink to reddish, visible in transmitted light. Numerous dark-coloured glands visible on both the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf blades. Seed germination time 277 to 343 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to NEQ, restricted to the foothills and uplands of Mt Bartle Frere and the Bellenden Ker Range. Altitudinal range from 80-850 m. Grows as an understory plant in well developed undisturbed lowland and upland rain forest.

Ardisia bifaria C.T.White & W.D.Francis, Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland 35: 73(1924), Type: Queensland. Bellenden-Ker, common in lowland forests, C.T. White (flowering specimens, type); Holo: BRI. Tetrardisia disticha Domin, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 1058(1928), Type: Queensland, Bellenden-Ker, Dec. 1909, Domin; holo: PR.
RFK Code
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