Noahdendron nicholasii (Hamamelidaceae)

Noahdendron nicholasii DSC_0567

Just about everyone has heard of Witch hazels, which are trees from the genus Hamamelis, but few would have guessed that the humid tropics of North Queensland dwell the cousins of the witch hazel.

And the Witch Hazel’s most famous tropical cousin bears a noble name, Noahdendron, which literally means the Tree of Noah.

Despite the biblical connotations, the tree was actually named after the locality in which it was discovered, which was Noah Creek in the Cape Tribulation-Daintree region. Noahdendron is believed to occur naturally in an area of only some 20 ha, making this one rather rare plant.

Nevertheless, this tree of Far North Queensland certainly deserves iconic status for it’s distinctiveness and beauty, especially when a tree is full of pendant pink flower spikes.

Even when not in flower, Noahdendron is one of the most easily recognized trees of the rainforest, because at the base of each of the alternately arranged leaves, particularly the younger ones, there is a very conspicuous leaf-like appendage known as a stipule.

Noahdendron nicholasii

Noahdendron nicholasii
A maturing fruit

Fortunately there is no need to travel to Noah Creek to see Noahdendron. Native plant gardens sell the tree and the Cairns Botanic Gardens is a fabulous place to enjoy the glory of the “Tree of Noah”.

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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 Endemics, Habitat - Rain forest, Hamamelidaceae (Witch Hazel family), Iconic Plants, Lifeform - Trees & Shrubs and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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