Glossocarya hemiderma



Glossocarya hemiderma

(F.Muell. ex Benth.) Benth. ex B.D.Jacks. 1893

pronounced: gloss-oh-KAR-yuh hem-ee-DER-muh

(Lamiaceae — the lavender family)

common name: glossocarya

native 4Glossocarya is from the Greek γλωσσω (glosso), the tongue and καρυον (karyon), a nut; hemiderma is from 'ημι- (hémi-), half, and δερμα (derma), the skin.

Glossocarya hemiderma occurs on the Cape York Peninsula and down the coastal strip to south-eastern Queensland. It is found from sea level to about 700 m altitude. It generally grows in well-developed rain forest and monsoon forest. It is also found in New Guinea.

This plant can grow as a shrub up to about 4 m tall, or a tree-top vine, depending on the surrounding vegetation. The specimen pictured is the former, growing behind the frontal dunes on the Horseshoe Bay foreshore. It is quite spectacular when in bloom, though hardly noticeable for the rest of the year. It is a relatively rare plant, and I have not been able to find mention of a common name. The type specimen was collected at Rockingham Bay, Queensland.

Vine stem diameters have been recorded up to 9 cm. The stem is very hard and woody. The twigs and petioles are sparsely pubescent, and both surfaces of the leaf blade are more-or-less glabrous, or very sparsely pubescent. The leaf blades are about 4 - 12 by 2 -  6 cm, with no glands; the petioles are short, about 2 - 10 mm long, grooved on the upper surface. On leaves produced on epicormic shoots there are often up to 5 large teeth in the margin on each side, but on leaves produced from mature shoots the leaf margins are usually entire. There are 4 - 6 lateral veins on each side of the midrib. Leaf-bearing twigs are often square in cross-section, finely grooved or ridged.

The inflorescence is terminal and in the axils of topmost leaves. In the flowers, the calyx is 3 - 4.5 by 2 - 3 mm, hairy and glandular on the outer surface, glabrous on the inner; the teeth are rounded or bluntly pointed. The corolla tube is hairy and glandular on both surfaces, and cream-white in colour. The corolla is 5-lobed at the top. The 4 (or sometimes 5) stamens are exserted, as is also the style; the filaments of the stamens are white.

The fruit is oblong to ellipsoid-oblong, rounded at the top, much exserted above the fruiting calyx, green when fresh, greyish brown when it is mature and dry; it is up to 1 cm long by 3 or 4 mm in diameter, the exserted portion glandular and tomentose-hirsute, 4-locular in the upper part where the endocarp closes around the seeds and separates into 4 narrow mericarps, the lower seedless portion resembling a wing on each mericarp. The calyx is persistent on the base.


Photographs taken in Horseshoe Bay 2013
Page last updated 5th January 2019