Aleurites rockinghamensis (Euphorbiaceae)

Aleurites rockinghamensis

This tree is also known as the Candlenut and is a very common tree in rainforest. At certain times of the year when this tree is in flower, the canopy stands out due to the whitish hairs that clothe the young leaves. This tree seems to flower en masse, with populations from different areas flowering at similar times.

This tree is also common in regenerating rainforest, where the juvenile leaves can be as large as dinner plates. These juvenile leaves also have a different shape from adult leaves, often bearing lobes, while the leaves of adults are ovate.

Aleurites rockinghamensis

Aleurites rockinghamensis

The fruits of this tree are three lobed, and crack open to reveal large seeds with hard shells, which can be used to make jewellery. These seeds are edible but not recommended as it can cause stomach irritation. Aborigines of the Cairns-Atherton Tableland region called this tree gayga (Dixon 1991). In a small way, the tree has also made its mark on the cultural history in Far North Queensland, being a common timber used in wood chop event competitions.

The tree differs from Aleurites moluccana from having 3- rather than 2-lobed fruits. The former species is also found more in the northern part of the state, north of Cape Tribulation.


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, Euphorbiaceae (Spurge Family), Habitat - Eucalypt Forest, Habitat - Rain forest, Lifeform - Trees & Shrubs, Medicinal Plants, Useful plants and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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