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Tropical North Queensland, Australia.
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Leichhardt Tree

leichardt tree
Photo: Courtesy of Damon Ramsey
BSc.(Zool) Biologist Guide

'Leichhardt Tree' or 'Cheesewood': Nauclea orientalis

  • This tree is of course not related to the conifers but is a flowering plant.

  • It's quite often a large tree found in the eastern and northern woodlands of Australia.

  • It stands out as much darker than its surrounding plants.

  • It is also found in the adjacent tropical rainforests in north-eastern Australia, and in the drier tropical woodlands it is usually found along the watercourses. It distribution also takes it to and through tropical Asia (Cooper and Cooper 1994).

  • The leaves are large and dark glossy green with prominent yellow venation. These are often dropped in the drier season (Cooper and Cooper 1994).

  • The flowers are small with orange-yellow petals and protruding white stamens, and stick out collectively from a central point, giving the inflorescence the look of small spiky balls.

  • It slowly produces a round squishy yellow blob that is actually a collection of small fruits that have followed the many small flowers. The globular fruit is about the size of a golf ball and is edible.

Script: Courtesy of  Damon Ramsey BSc.(Zool) Biologist Guide

Leichhardt Tree: Nauclea orientalis

  • The tree produces the lightly perfumed, unusual flowers throughout spring and summer.

  • Though edible, the fruit is said to be very bitter, although it is popular with birds and flying foxes.

  • This tree prefers wet areas and is particularly common in lowland rainforests, close to streams, where it can grow 20m in height.

  • Traditionally, the trunks make good canoes and the leaves and bark produce a poison which can be put into water to stun fish.

  • The bark is also the source of a bright yellow dye.

Script: Courtesy of of Environmental Protection Agency

Chambers Wildlife Rainforest Lodges
Lake Eacham, Atherton Tablelands
Tropical North Queensland, Australia.
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