Polyalthia nitidissima, Fam. Annonaceae
Attractive small tree with dark grey to black brown, finely fissured bark, that is conspicuous for its horizontal branching. Polyalthia from the Greek ‘poly’ many and ‘althos’ healing because in Java the bark was thought to be a cure for many diseases; nitidissima from the Latin meaning most shiny, referring to the very glossy leaves.
|Form or habit:||Small tree|
Simple, alternate, entire, ovate to elliptic, 6-13cm long, smooth, glossy dark green above and paler below, domatia occuras tufts of brown hairs in some vein angles below and are evident as little bumps on the upper surface. Oil dots present but minute.
Yellow, Cream, Green
|Flower description:||Yellow green or cream flowers occur singly or in small clusters in leaf axils. December to March.|
Orange, Yellow, Red
|Fruit description:||Three to eight carpels develop from one flower and occur on short stalks radiating from a central point. Each carpel is one seeded, globose, 6-9mm in diameter and yellow orange to bright red. Any month of the year.|
|Habitat:||Littoral rainforest, rainforest.|
|Distribution||Queensland, New South Wales, Northern Territory, New Guinea, Melanesia.|
|Food source for:||Fruit eaten by the southern cassowary and banded fruit dove. Larval food plant of the five barred swordtail, pale triangle and green spotted triangle butterflies.|
|Toxicity:||No toxicity known|
|Origin:||Australia, New Guinea, Melanesia.|
|Notes:||Grow from fresh seed, germination may be reliable and reasonably rapid or slow and erratic. Fruit may have been eaten by Aborigines. The white to grey timber is soft, fine grained, tough and fragrant.|
|Information sources:||Melzer R. & Plumb J. (2007) Plants of Capricornia.|