Nauclea orientalis (Leichhardt Tree) (Rubiaceae)

Nauclea orientalis (Leichhardt Tree)

The Leichhardt tree is a magnificent rainforest tree with very showy blossoms borne on large flowerheads. Each flowerhead is about 5cm across. It is instantly recognizable, even without flowers, by the large leaves (up to 30cm long and over 15cm broad) and conspicuous rounded stipules. The fruits are edible.

Nauclea orientalis (Leichhardt Tree)
Closeup of flowerhead

There are some species with similar flowers. Anthocephalus chinensis is very similar with somewhat equally large leaves and flowerheads. The flowerheads of A. chinensis are more crowded however, and the stipules are smaller and pointed. Neonauclea glabra is also similar but the leaves are much smaller and the flowerheads are only about 1.5cm across.

Nauclea orientalis (Leichhardt Tree)
Note the leaf stipules

Nauclea orientalis Cattana DSC_0069

Nauclea orientalis Cattana DSC_0073

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 Edible plants, Habitat - Rain forest, Lifeform - Trees & Shrubs, Rubiaceae (Coffee family) and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Nauclea orientalis (Leichhardt Tree) (Rubiaceae)

  1. Is it possible for you to give me your email address so that I can send you a picture of a tree that I am trying to identify – it has reddish leaves and is situated on the banks of Ross River Townsville. You are also welcome to visit my wordpress site at

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