Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Timonius timon (Spreng.) Merr. var. timon

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flower (male?). © Barry Jago
Fruit. CC-BY J.L. Dowe
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO

Merrill, E.D. (1937) Journal of the Arnold Arboretum 18: 131.

Common name



Usually encountered as a small tree not exceeding 30 cm dbh. Bark often rather corky, colour variable depending on the frequency of fires.


Stipules about 10-40 mm long, tapering to a point at the apex, densely clothed with long, prostrate, silky, pale brown hairs. Leaf blades about 8.5-12.5 x 1.8-5.2 cm. Domatia are tufts of hairs and may occur along the midrib and also along the lateral veins.


Inflorescence much shorter than the leaves. Corolla sericeous on the outer surface, tube about 7-12 mm long, lobes about 6-7 mm long, with conspicuous, longitudinal, crenate, glandular ridges, margins wavy or crenate. Anthers sessile, about 6-7 mm long. Ovary about 5 mm long. Style about 3-4 mm long. Stigmas numerous and conspicuous each about 4-5 mm long.


Fruits globular, about 12-13 mm diam., calyx persisting at the apex. Seeds about 3-4 x 1 mm. Embryo about 2-2.5 mm long, cotyledons about as wide as the radicle.


Cotyledons ovate, about 5-6 mm long. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade +/- elliptic, base cuneate or attenuate, hairy on the upper surface at least along the midrib; stipules sheathing, linear triangular, hairy on the outer surface; petiole, stem and terminal bud clothed in +/- prostrate, pale hairs. Seed germination time 18 to 45 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards to south-eastern Queensland. Altitudinal range from sea level to 850 m. Usually grows in open forest but also found in monsoon forest and on rain forest margins. Also occurs in Malesia.

Natural History & Notes

This plant used medicinally by Aborigines. Cribb (1981).

Nelitris timon (Spreng.) Britten, The Journal of Botany 39 : 68(1901). Erithalis timon Spreng., Pl. Min. Cogn. Pugil. 1: 18(1813), Type: Rumph. Herb. Amb. 3: 216, t. 140. (1743). Guettarda polyphragmoides F. Muell., Fragmenta Phytt. 2: 134(1861), Type: Victoria, Fitzmaurice, Roper & Wentworth Rivers, Holo: MEL?. Polyphragmon sericeum Desf., Mem. Mus. Hist. Nat. 6: 6(1820), Type: Timor, 1801 or 1803, Exped. Baudin, Holo: P. Iso: C. Fide Darwin (1993). Timonius rumphii DC., Prodromus systematis naturalis regni vegetabilis 4: 461(1830), Type: Ambon, Rumphius. Timonius sericeus K. Schum., Die Flora Kaiser Wilhelms Land : 131(1889), Type: New Guinea. Timonius brassii S. Moore, Journal of Botany 65: 265(1927), Type: Papua, Bomguina River, Brass, 1626, 2 June 1926, Holo: BM, Iso: A, BRI, P.
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