Cleistanthus hylandii

Berie's cleistanthus


Cleistanthus hylandii

Airy Shaw 1974

pronounced: kly-STAN-thuss hy-LAND-ee-eye

(Phyllanthaceae — the phyllanthus family)


common name: Bernie's cleistanthus

native 4Although the plant was named by Airy Shaw (1902-1985) of Kew Gardens, it was collected by Bernie Hyland (1937 - ), the Australian botanist who specializes in the plants of the wet rainforest of North Queensland. It was found on the Claudie River in rainforest, at an altitude of 10 m, and he described it as “tree 10 cm dbh; bark flaky; blaze layering very thin; fruit orange-red.” Cleistanthus is derived from the Greek κλειστος (kleistos), that can be shut or closed, and ανθος (anthos), a flower.

The plant is endemic to Queensland, occurring in Cape York Peninsula and down the east coast of the north of the state. It grows in well-developed rainforest and gallery forest, especially in disturbed areas, at altitues from almost sea level to about 600 m. The photographs are of a young tree planted in a Picnic Bay garden.

The trunk of this large shrub or small tree tree rarely exceeds 30 cm DBH, and the blaze is indeed, as Bernie described, finely layered.

The leaf blades are elliptic to ovate, the tips acute to acuminate, the bases rounded, about 8-19 cm long and between 3.5 and 8.5 cm wide, and their short petioles are transversely wrinkled. New growth of leaves is pinkish to purple.

The cream to green flowers are tiny, only about 2 mm in diameter; both calyx and ovary are glabrous.

The globular fruits are red capsules, about 5 mm in diameter They disintegrate at maturity, with the stalk and central axis remaining attached to the tree.


Photographs taken in Picnic Bay 2016
Page last updated 11th November 2018