Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Trema cannabina Lour.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flower and juvenile fruit. © Barry Jago
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO

Loureiro, J. de (1790) Flora Cochinchinensis 2: 563. Type: Habitat in sylvis Cochinchinae.

Common name

Lesser Trema; Poison Peach


A small tree not exceeding 30 cm dbh. Blaze odour obnoxious but difficult to describe.


Stipules long and narrow, gradually tapering to a fine point. Twig bark strong and fibrous, emitting an obnoxious odour when stripped. Leaf blades about 4.3-16 x 1.1-5.8 cm. Midrib and lateral veins depressed on the upper surface. A few scabrous hairs normally present on the upper surface.


Inflorescence about 1-2.5 cm long with about 10-15 flowers, bracts ovate-acute, about 2-3 x 1 mm. Perianth lobes about 1-1.5 x 0.5-1 mm. Anther filaments about 1 mm long. Ovary about 1 x 0.5 mm, stigmatic arms spreading or incurved.


Fruits about 2-3 x 2-3 mm, perianth lobes persistent at the base. Seed about 2 x 2 mm. Stone rugose. Embryo U-shaped, cotyledons much wider than the radicle.


Cotyledons elliptic, about 7-9 mm long. First pair of leaves ovate, about 12-14 x 8-10 mm. Margin with about 2 or 3 teeth on each side. Both the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf blade scabrous. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves cordate or ovate, apex acuminate, base cordate and both the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf blade clothed in short, scabrous hairs, numerous small, sandpapery glands on the upper surface of the leaf blade, about 3-5 main lateral veins each side of the midrib; petiole, stem and new terminal bud clothed in pale hairs; stipules +/- ovate-triangular, hairy. Seed germination time 18 to 154 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP and NEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 950 m. Grows in lowland and upland rain forest on a variety of sites. This species is favoured by disturbance. Also occurs in Asia, Malesia, the Solomon Islands, New Caledonia and the Pacific islands.

Natural History & Notes

This species may have medicinal properties. It may also be poisonous.

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