Polyscias australiana—Basswood; Ivory Basswood—ARALIACEAE

Polyscias australiana

Link to Images on Flickr.

Habitat— Often grows in Wet Sclerophyll Forest or on the margin of Rainforest but also found as a regrowth species in disturbed Rainforest.

Distribution— Widespread, occurs on the Cape York Peninsular and in North East Queensland. Altitudinal range from near sea level to about 1000 m. Also occurs in the Northern Territory and New Guinea.

Description— Shrub/small tree to about 6 meters tall.

Local occurrences

The North Coast Regional Botanic Gardens Coffs Harbour and Raintrees Diamond Beach

Leaves.—Compound, leaflets alternate with a true terminal leaf, leaves opposite, 13 to 19. Base of the compound leaf rhachis clasping the twig. Compound leaf rhachis swollen at point of attachment of each pair of leaflets. Leaf bearing twigs about 1 cm or more diameter. Young shoots densely clothed in short rusty brown hairs. Leaflet blades about 9 to 18 x 4 to 10 cm.

Polyscias australiana
Polyscias australiana

Inflorescence.—In umbels which are arranged in diffuse panicles. Calyx lobes small and inconspicuous. Petals about 1.5 mm long, white. Style arms fused, forming a beak–like projection after anthesis.


Fruit.—Globular, about 8 to 9 mm diam, black. Style arms, although persisting, do not form a conspicuous part of the mature fruit. Embryo very small.


Polyscias australiana