Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Trema tomentosa var. aspera (Brongn.) Hewson

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Male flowers. © R.L. Barrett
Female flowers. © R.L. Barrett
Fruit. © R.L. Barrett
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO

Hewson, H.J. (2007) Journal of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens 21: 89.

Common name

Peach Poison Bush; Elm; Fig, Rough; Kurrajong; Native Peach; Peach-leaf Poison Bush; Peach-leaved Poison Tree; Poison Peach; Rough Fig; Small Poison Peach


Seldom exceeding 30 cm dbh. Blaze odour obnoxious.


Stipules long and narrow, gradually tapering to a fine point. Twig bark strong and fibrous, emitting an obnoxious odour when stripped. Leaf blades about 3.5-13 x 1.1-6 cm.


Inflorescence about 0.5-1 cm long with about 30-50 flowers. Perianth lobes 1.5 x 0.5 mm, induplicate-valvate in the bud. Staminal filaments about 0.5-1 mm long. Ovary about 1 mm long, stigmatic arms spreading or incurved.


Fruits about 3.5 x 3 mm, perianth lobes persistent at the base. Seed about 2-2.5 x 2 mm. Stone rugose. Embryo U-shaped, cotyledons much wider than the radicle.


Cotyledons linear-ovate or linear-obovate, about 5-8 mm long. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade ovate, apex acute, base obtuse or cordate, margin serrate or dentate with teeth all around the margin, upper surface clothed in +/- scabrous hairs; petiole, stem and terminal bud clothed in short, pale hairs; stipules linear-triangular, hairy. Seed germination time 15 to 113 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards to Victoria. Altitudinal range from sea level to 1000 m. Grows in monsoon forest, well developed rain forest and wet sclerophyll forest. This species is favoured by disturbance. Also occurs in New Guinea.

Natural History & Notes

Field evidence indicates that this species is a very important cause of sickness and death in livestock and its toxicity has been confirmed in feeding tests. Everist (1974).

Food plant for the larval stages of the Speckled Lineblue Butterfly. Common & Waterhouse (1981).

Trema aspera (Brongn.) Blume,  Museum Botanicum Lugduno-Batavum sive stirpium Exoticarum, Novarum vel Minus Cognitarum ex Vivis aut Siccis Brevis Expositio et Descriptio 2(4): 58 (1856). Sponia aspera (Brongn.) Decne., Nouvelles Annales du Museum d'Histoire Naturelle 3 : 498(1834). Trema aspera var. typica Domin, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 560(1928). Celtis aspera Brongn., Voy. Monde (Phan.) t. 48: 213(1834), Type: Blue Mountains near Port Jackson, NSW, R.P. Lesson & J. S. C. D. D Urville s.n. Trema aspera var. xerophila Domin, Biblioth. Bot. 89: 6(1921), Type: Chillagoe, Qld, 1910, K. Domin. Trema tomentosa var. viridis (Planch.) Hewson, Flora of Australia 3: 9-10, 190 (1989), Type: Nom. Inval.
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