Dillenia alata (Red Beech) (Dilleniaceae)

Dillenia alata

Being found in rainforest, coastal areas and wetlands, the Red Beech is an exceedingly common tree. Common but with majestic blossoms! This tree is best appreciated in the morning when the glorious yellow blossoms open. The fruits are equally wondrous, being bright scarlet with the contrasting white pulp surrounding the brown seeds. The pulp and seeds are edible. I tried it but it didn’t seem to have much taste.

Dillenia alata

Once this tree comes of age it is unlikely that one will encounter this tree without at least a hint of a flower or fruit. In the unlikely case of coming across an individual with no flowers, this tree can easily be recognized by the distinctively winged leaf stalk. The bark is also very distinctively papery and reddish-brown and stands out in the swampy habitat it normally occurs in. Moreover, it is the only native species of Dillenia in Queensland. A very different looking relative, the Elephant Apple (Dillenia indica) is commonly planted as a wayside tree in Cairns and the white flowered Dillenia philippensis in gardens. I have also seen what I believe is Dillenia suffruticosa, an southeast-asian species planted in Cattana Wetlands.

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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 Dilleniaceae (Guinea Flower family), Edible plants, Habitat - Coastal forest, Habitat - Rain forest, Habitat - Wetlands, Lifeform - Trees & Shrubs. Bookmark the permalink.

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