Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Xanthophyllum fragrans C.T.White

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Leaves and Flowers. © B. Gray
Fruit, side views, longitudinal section and seed. © W. T. Cooper
Habit, fruit. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Seedling, cotyledons and 5 leaves, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

White, C.T. (1939) Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland 50: 67. Type: Qld, Daintree River, L.J. Brass and C.T. White, 264; holo: BRI.

Common name

Fragrant Boxwood


Outer blaze orange-yellow.


Two pale, dished glands visible on the underside of the leaf blade, usually towards the base, one on either side of the midrib. Leaf blades rather large, about 20 x 7 cm.


Inflorescence about 8-12 cm long, individual flowers quite large. Sepals puberulent, about 10-15 mm long, inner larger than the outer. Petals glabrous, about 70 x 10-15 mm, marked by purple or mauve streaks. Stamens eight. Staminal filaments glabrous, about 60 mm long, closely adhering to the basal part of the petals, but without any vascular attachment, anthers about 3 mm long. Disk about 1 mm high, margin irregularly lobed. Ovary glabrous, about 10 x 5 mm, stipitate, stipe about 10 mm long. Ovules 30 or more. Style about 30-35 mm long.


Fruits ellipsoid, about 9 x 4 cm. Seeds about 15 x 12 mm, completely enclosed in the aril. Embryo flat +/- orbicular, about 12 mm diam., cotyledons green, many times wider than the radicle.


Cotyledons elliptic to almost orbicular, about 40-50 x 35-45 mm, slightly cordate at the base. First pair of true leaves lanceolate or ovate-lanceolate. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade lanceolate or ovate, glabrous, apex acuminate, base obtuse or cuneate; petiole and stem glabrous. Seed germination time 29 to 55 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to NEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 1000 m. Grows in well developed rain forest on a variety of sites.

Natural History & Notes

A very attractive tree that has potential in tropical parks and gardens. Large cream, highly perfumed flowers are followed by decorative orange fruits.

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