Idiospermum australiense —Idiot Fruit, Ribbonwood, Idiospermum—CALYCANTHACEAE.

Idiospermum australiense

Link to Images on Flickr.

Habitat— Grows in well developed lowland rain forest.

Distribution—Endemic to North East Queensland, occurs in the area between Hutchinson Creek and the Daintree River and the foothills of the Bellenden Ker Range and Mount Bartle Frere. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 200 m

Description—Medium sized evergreen tree, growing to 20–30 m tall.

Local occurrences

Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney.

Leaves.— Simple, opposite, entire or in whorles of 3 to 4, oil dots absent; leaf blade oblong to ovate, about 10 to 17 x 3.5 to 5.5 cm curved throughout their length, but not forming definite loops, apex acuminate, base obtuse, glabrous; petiole glabrous. Lateral veins slightly raised on the upper surface.

Idiospermum australiense
Idiospermum australiense

Inflorescence.— The flowers are 4 to 5 cm diameter, with spirally arranged red petals, tepals about 12 to 14 mm long, numerous, about 30 to 40, variable, changing from bracts to sepals—petals—stamens—staminodes—carpels as the centre of the flower is approached. Anther connective extending beyond the anthers, both laterally and apically.

Flowering.—May to June

Fruit.—Fruits large, brittle, depressed globular, nut−like, about 5 to 5.5 x 6 to 6.5 cm. Seeds large, about 4 to 5 x 5 to 6 cm. Cotyledons three or four, large, thick and fleshy. It is very toxic, with symptoms (in cattle) similar to strychnine

Ripe.—July to August.

Idiospermum australiense