Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Xylopia maccreae (F.Muell.) L.S.Sm.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Leaves and flower. © CSIRO
Leaves and fruit. © CSIRO
Dehiscing fruit exposing seeds. © W. T. Cooper
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, durian germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Smith, L.S. (1956) Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland 67: 29.

Common name

Maccrea's Xylopia; Orange Jacket


Blaze odour resembles that of lemon (Citrus limon). White granular and brown fibrous stripes in the outer blaze.


Leaf blades about 5-10 x 2-4 cm. Oil dots visible with a lens. Leaf blade much paler on the underside. Young shoots clothed in quite long, shiny brown, silky hairs. Leaf bearing twigs 1-2 mm diameter, frequently hairy, usually marked by pale lenticels. Twig bark strong and fibrous when stripped, often emitting a citrus (Citrus spp.) odour.


Calyx pubescent, lobes rounded at the apex, about 1 mm long. Petals pubescent on both surfaces, outer petals about 17 mm long, inner petals about 14 mm long. Anthers about 2 mm long, connective extending beyond the anther sacs for about 0.5-0.6 mm, filament about 0.2 mm long. Ovaries about 10-12, ovules about 25 per ovary.


Ripe carpels splitting irregularly and turning inside out to release the seeds, fruiting carpels +/- cylindrical, about 35-45 x 20-25 mm, red on the inner surface. Aril grey. Seeds about 10-12 x 7-8 mm. Embryo minute, about 1-1.5 mm long, cotyledons wider than the radicle.


First pair of leaves alternate, shortly petiolate, ovate-lanceolate, sparsely pubescent, margins smooth. Oil dots visible with a lens. Stem clothed in pale brown +/- erect hairs. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves ovate or lanceolate, apex acute or acuminate, base rounded, hairy on the upper surface at least along the midrib; very small oil dots may be visible with a lens; petiole, stem and terminal bud clothed in long pale brown hairs. Seed germination time 123 to 336 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to Queensland. Occurs in CYP, NEQ and CEQ. Found over a wide area between Cooktown and Townsville. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 800 m. Usually grows in well developed rain forest.

Natural History & Notes

Food plant for the larval stages of the Green Spotted Triangle Butterfly. Common & Waterhouse (1981); Sankowsky & Neilsen. (2000).

The small buttresses found at the base of the stems of trees of this species were sought after by the aboriginals in the Kuranda area and used to make returning boomerangs.

Fissistigma maccreai (F.Muell.) Merr., The Philippine Journal of Science 15 : 133(1920). Melodorum maccreai F.Muell., Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae 6: 176(1868), Type: Ad sinum Rockinghami; Dallachy.
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