LEICHARDT TREE [Nauclia Orientalis] North Queensland rainforest tree
Golf ball sized interesting flowers.
Grows to be a rather large tree.
Great for shade & animal shelter.
Fabulous Australian Rain Forest trees.
Small yards are not suitable.
*** Only have 1 left around 2 metres in a 45 litre grow bag $385
Nauclea orientalis is a species of tree in the family Rubiaceae, native to Southeast Asia, New Guinea, and Australia.
It has many common names, including bur tree, canary wood, Leichhardt pine and yellow cheesewood. It grows to a maximum of around 30 m (98 ft) in height and has large glossy leaves. It bears spherical clusters of fragrant flowers that develop into golf ball-sized edible but bitter fruits. The yellowish to orange soft wood is also used for timber and in woodcarving and folk medicine.
More recently in Australia, it has been called the coronavirus tree because its flowerhead resembles the virus.
Leichhardt trees are medium to tall trees, reaching maximum height of around 30 m (98 ft) with a diameter of 1 m (3.3 ft). They are deciduous, shedding their leaves during the dry season. The bark surface of Liechhardt trees are grayish to reddish brown and may be smooth or fissured and flaky. It is orange to yellow in color when cut.
The broadly ovate smooth (glabrous) leaves are opposite and around 7 to 30 cm (2.8 to 11.8 in) by 4 to 18 cm (1.6 to 7.1 in) in size. The upper surface is glossy green. The bottom side has raised prominent yellow venation.
Like most members of the family Rubiaceae, the stipules of Leichhardt trees are interpetiolar. In Nauclea, these interpetiolar stipules are held erect and pressed together, resulting in strongly flattened vegetative buds.
They are large, around 1 to 3.5 cm (0.39 to 1.38 in) long. On their inside surfaces are a number of small red glands that can resemble insect eggs.
The small fragrant flowers are tubular and are yellowish to orange with white stamens. They are grouped into a spherical cluster originating from a central point about 3 cm (1.2 in) in diameter. They bloom from September to January in Australia, and August to October in the Philippines.
The individual flowers are small, about 8 to 10 mm (0.31 to 0.39 in) long and 3 to 5 mm (0.12 to 0.20 in) in diameter. They possess a perianth (each composed of five petals and sepals in separate whorls),
The internal surface of the corolla are yellow to orange and sweet-smelling. They are frequently partly fused together, forming a long corolla tube tipped with the individual lobes of the petals. The flowers are bisexual, with 5 short and separate stamens attached to the perianth. The calyces are also fused together, resulting in the spherical shape of the flower head. They are epigynous, with the ovary inferior (lying below the attachment of the other flower parts).
After three months, the flower heads develop into a fleshy globular multiple fruit (syncarp) joined by their calyces (each flower becoming a fruitlet containing one seed). They are around 4 to 5 cm (1.6 to 2.0 in) in diameter, about the size of a golf ball. The fruit is rugose (wrinkled), brown, and strongly aromatic. The fruits are indehiscent.
The ovoid to ellipsoid seeds are small, around 1 to 10 mm (0.039 to 0.394 in) in length and are not winged. They are very numerousbut do not remain viable for long.
Being recalcitrant (unable to survive drying and freezing temperatures), it’s impossible to store them. The seeds germinate above ground (epigeal germination) around 15 days after being sown.
Distribution and habitat
Leichhardt trees usually grow near bodies of water, as they prefer alluvial soils. They can occur from shrublands of rheophytes, in areas often subjected to flooding, to rainforests where they flourish best. Leichhardt trees are pioneer species, settling areas leading to ecological succession.
In Australia, they are usually associated in ecosystems including red gums and honey myrtles in drier habitats. In wetter areas they are associated with brush cherries, Moreton Bay chestnuts, and blush walnuts. They grow along with honey myrtles in swamps. In the Philippines, Leichhardt trees are usually found growing in secondary forests.
Leichhardt trees grow at elevations of 0 to 500 m (0 to 1,640 ft) above sea level. Their native range extends from tropical Northern Australia and New Guinea to Southeast Asia; from the Philippines to Myanmar and Thailand (the biogeographic region of Malesia). They are the only species of Nauclea occurring in Australia, though in some regions they can be easily confused with species from the genus Neolamarckia (= Anthocephalus auct. non A.Rich.).
The tree is cultivated for ornamental purposes. The fruits of the tree are edible and are eaten by Indigenous Australians, though it is very bitter-tasting. They are also eaten by flying foxes and birds (like Cassowaries).
In Malaysia, it is one of the food sources of proboscis monkeys (Nasalis larvatus), along with other members of Rubiaceae.
The wood is easily cut (hence the common name of “cheesewood”) but is not durable to weather exposure. It is distinctively yellowish to orange in color. The timber is used for frames and internal floorboards. It is also used in woodcarving, paper production, house construction, and for making canoes.
The bark is also used to make fish poison. The extract is added to slow-moving bodies of water to stun fish and make them easier to catch.
In folk medicine, bark infusions cause vomiting and are used by Indigenous Australians to treat stomachaches and animal bites. It is the source of a yellow dye. In the Philippines, it is used to treat wounds.
Studies on indole alkaloids extracted from Leichhardt trees have also pointed to possible antimalarial and anticancer effects.
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