Polyscias elegans —Celery Wood, Silver Basswood, Black Pencil Cedar —ARALIACEAE

Polyscias elegans

Link to Images on Flickr.

Habitat—Grows in a range of habitats, often in rainforests, vine thickets, and swales of coastal dune systems. Not in Cool-temperate Rainforests.

Distribution—North from Jervis Bay in New South Wales to Queensland.

Description—Sparingly branched tree to 30 m high, glabrescent. Young trees have an umbrella-like crown. Wood smells like celery when cut. Noticeable purple fruit in dense panicles at top of tree in autumn. Trunk straight, cylindrical, bark grey to grey-brown (smooth on young trees) vertically fissured, rough and scaly with scattered lenticles on older trees. Branchlets rather thick, grey becoming green at the tips. Young shoots downy;leaf scars prominent.

Local occurrences

Barrington/Gloucester Tops, Bennett Head, Black Head, Black Head Flora Park, Booti Hill, Brown's Creek Bicentennial Gardens, Burgess Beach, Burgess Road, Cape Hawke, Cellito, Charlotte Head, Cliff Road, Coocumbac Island, Crowdy Bay National Park, Diamond Beach, Diamond Beach LRF, Dixon Property, Elizabeth Beach, Forster Cemetery, Forster/Tuncurry Streets, Golden Ponds Reserve, Great Lakes College-Forster Campus, Great Lakes College-Tuncurry Campus, Karloo Street Reserve, Little Street, One Mile Beach, Pebbly Beach, Red Head, Sea Acres National Park, Second Head, Seven Mile Beach and Green Point, Stephen Street Reserve, The Islands, The Sanctuary, Tiona, Tuncurry Dunes and Heath, Wallamba River Are,a Wingham Brush and Zamia Place Reserve.

Leaves.— Compound, bipinnate, terminal leaflet present; large, alternate, usually 2—pinnate (except for some on flowering shoots only 1—pinnate and with 5 to 9 leaflets), up to 100 cm long, secondary rachises to 12 cm long, commonly subtended by leaflets; petiole circular in cross section; leaflets with branched hairs when young, ovate to elliptic, mostly 5 to 12 cm long, mostly 3 to 6.5 cm wide, apex acuminate, base ± rounded, margins entire; aromatic when crushed.

Polyscias elegans
Polyscias elegans Polyscias elegans
Polyscias elegans

Inflorescence.—Inflorescence a terminal panicle, branching 1 to 3 times, with a grey indumentum, flowers solitary and arranged racemosely along inflorescence branches. Calyx an undulate rim. Petals purple to black. Ovary 2-locular.

Flowering.—February to April

Fruit—Fruit globose, 5 to 6 mm long, purple-black when ripe.

Ripe.—March to July

Polyscias elegans