Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Zieria smithii Jacks.

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Leaves and flowers. © Australian Plant Image Index (APII). Photographer: M. Fagg.
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon and 10th leaf stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO

Jackson, G. in Andrews, H.C. (1810) The Botanists Repository : t. 60. Type: Communicated last April by A.B. Lambert, esq., from his collection ..

Common name

Sandfly Zieria; Turmeric; Sandfly Bush; Lanoline Bush; Zieria, Sandfly


Usually flowers and fruits as a shrub about 1-2 m tall.


Leaflets rather small, about 2-3 x 0.7-1.1 cm, sessile. Leaflets very aromatic when crushed. Compound leaf petiole grooved or channelled on the upper surface. Lateral leaflets unequal sided at the base. Lateral veins scarcely visible on either the upper or lower surfaces of the leaflet blade. Lower surface of leaflet blade sparsely clothed in small stellate and simple hairs. Twigs and petioles clothed in stellate hairs. Twigs not longitudinally ribbed.


Inflorescence not exceeding the leaves. Flowers about 6-7 mm diam. Calyx and corolla clothed in short stellate hairs. Stamens inserted outside the disk, filaments pubescent. Pollen yellow to orange. Disk consists of four large globular glands each one opposite a stamen. Ovary glabrous. Style glabrous. Stigma bright green, 4-lobed. Ovules 2 per carpel or locule.


Each flower produces 3 or 4 follicles, each follicle contains 1 or 2 seeds. Calyx lobes stellate hairy, persistent at the base of each group of follicles. Testa hard. Aril thin and translucent.


Cotyledons linear, elliptic or clavate, about 5-10 x 2-3 mm. First pair of leaves trifoliolate and opposite. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf trifoliolate, leaflet blades sessile or shortly stalked, aromatic when crushed, oil dots visible to the naked eye, lateral veins looping inside the blade margin. Compound leaf petiole grooved on the upper surface. Leaf and stem hairs small, mainly simple but with a few stellate hairs included. Seed germination time 49 to 83 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in NEQ, CEQ and southwards as far as Victoria. Altitudinal range in NEQ from 700-1300 m. Grows as an understory plant in wet sclerophyll forest, occasionally on the edge of rain forest.

Natural History & Notes

This species produces an oil high in safrole.

Zieria smithii Jacks. var. smithii, Flora Australiensis 1: 307(1863). Zieria smithii var. typica Domin, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 837(1928). Zieria smithii subsp. 'b', Telopea 2: 87(1980). Zieria smithii Jacks. subsp. B, Flora of New South Wales 2: 244(1991). Zieria smithii G. Jackson subsp. tomentosa J.A. Armstrong, Australian Systematic Botany 15: 440(2002), Type: Queensland, Walsh Falls, J.A. Armstrong 1027, 9 Sept. 1977. Holo: BRI. Iso: BG, MEL, NSW, PERTH.
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