Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Zanthoxylum nitidum (Roxb.) DC.

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Flowers [not vouchered]. CC-BY J.L. Dowe
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Vine stem bark and vine stem transverse section. © CSIRO

Gingins de Lassaraz, F.C.J. ex Candolle, A.P. de (1824) Prodromus 1: 727.


Vine stem diameters to 4 cm recorded. Stems armed with corky processes each ending in a spine, each of these structures resembles a rhinoceros horn.


Twigs and branches armed with numerous recurved spines, similar spines are also present on the underside of the compound leaf rhachis and on the underside of the midrib of most leaflets. Leaflet blades about 5-9 x 2-4.5 cm, leaflet stalks about 0.5-3 mm long. Leaflet blade margins crenate with a large oil gland at the base of each tooth.


Female flowers: Inflorescence shortly branched. Pedicels about 1-3 mm long. Sepals broadly triangular, about 1 mm long, oil glands small and numerous. Petals ovate to elliptic, about 2-3 mm long, oil glands visible, small. Staminodes about 0.5 mm long. Carpels (ovaries) about 1.5-2 mm long, green, oil dots numerous. Stigma green, about 1.5 mm diam.


Ripe fruits red. Fruiting carpels 1-4 in each cluster, each carpel +/- globular, laterally compressed, about 5-7 mm diam., surface marked by large oil dots. Seeds shiny black, +/- globular, about 4-5 mm diam. Cotyledons about 4 mm long. Radicle about 0.5 mm long.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP, NEQ and CEQ. Altitudinal range from sea level to 400 m. Grows in lowland rain forest. Also found in Asia and Malesia.

Natural History & Notes

This species may have medicinal properties.

Fagara nitida Roxb., Fl. Ind. ed. Carey & Wall. 1: 439(1820), Type: Lecto: Roxburgh Icones 2430, Cult. Bot. Gard. Calcutta. Zanthoxylum torvum F.Muell., Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae 7: 140(1869), Type: Ad flumen Herberts River et in montibus Seaview-Range prope Rockinghams Bay; J. Dallachy.
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