Gomphandra australiana (Stemonuraceae)

Gomphandra australiana

Gomphandra australiana

There are some plants in Far North Queensland that are indications of the spread of certain plant families from southeast Asian into Australia, ie they indicate a close relationship between the Australian tropics and the Malesian tropics (a botanical region that includes many southeast Asian countries). Gomphandra australiana is one such plant. I found Melanie Schori’s recent thesis on a revision of Gomphandra and it comfirms G. australiana to be the only representative of the genus in Australia while the stronghold of the genus remains in southeast Asia. There has also been some changes in the family level taxonomy. Previously G. australiana was placed in a family known as the Icacinaceae, a little known tropical family of plants. Now it is placed in the Stemonuraceae in which also belongs the FNQ endemic tree Irvingbaileya australis.

Whatever the family, it brings Southeast Asia into the wet tropics of Australia!

Gomphandra australiana DSC_0927

There is not very much that is easy to use to this understorey tree when not in flower or fruit.

Perhaps the few but strong veins which form loops towards the edge of the lamina might be a good character. The leaves are deep green and kind of fleshy-leathery.

Gomphandra australiana DSC_0925

Gomphandra australiana DSC_0924
These flowers seem to just consist of 5 stamens!

During some of my research work in the Daintree, we collected some wood of the species to examine its wood anatomy [See my other post]. If you think Gomphandra is non-descript, you must look deeper, and you will see great beauty!


The alternate patterning of parenchyma rays and vessels in the Buff Beech (Gomphandra australiana)


About David Tng

I am David Tng, a hedonistic botanizer who pursues plants with a fervour. I chase the opportunity to delve into various aspects of the study of plants. I have spent untold hours staring at mosses and allied plants, taking picture of pollen, culturing orchids in clean cabinets, counting tree rings, monitoring plant flowering times, etc. I am currently engrossed in the study of plant ecology (a grand excuse to see 'anything I can). Sometimes I think of myself as a shadow taxonomist, a sentimental ecologist, and a spiritual environmentalist - but at the very root of it all, a "plant whisperer"!
This entry was posted in Habitat - Rain forest, Lifeform - Trees & Shrubs, Stemonuraceae (Stemonurus family) and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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