Austromatthaea elegans (Monimiaceae)

Austromatthaea elegans

I met this small tree in the rainforests of Davies Creek and my first thoughts were that it was some kind of Lily Pilly on the basis of the opposite leaves. On closer examination it was clear that this plant had toothed leaves and a hairy leaf underside, not something that Syzygiums exhibit.

Austromatthaea elegans

Austromatthaea elegans

The characters of the plant were very distinctive and easy to key out using the rainforest key. In the field however, many of the members can be quite nondescript. Nonetheless, opposite toothed margined leaves with veins that form loops with the leaf lamina are good indications of a Monimiaceae, the family to which this botanical darling belongs. The Monimiaceae is a small botanical family which do not very widely known members. Nonetheless, the family is allied with the large family of the Laurels (Lauraceae), which many would be familiar with at least in the form of the avocado and cinnamon. It would be wonderful if I could encounter this tree when it is in its peak flowering period – the flowers of the Monimiaceae are quite strange and unlike most other flowers. More on this when I encounter some!

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, Monimiaceae and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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