Aidia racemosa  (Cav.) Tirveng.  1983

pronounced: AY-dee-uh ray-see-MO-suh

(Rubiaceae —  the gardenia family)

synonyms: Stylocoryna racemosa  Cav.  1798 , Randia lamprophylla  O.Schwarz  1927

pronounced: sty-low-kor-EE-nuh ray-see-MO-suh, RAN-dee-uh lam-pro-FILL-uh

Common names: Archer Cherry, Wild Randia

aidia racemosaArcher cherry aidia racemosa budsbuds Aidia appears to be derived from the Greek ιδιος (idios), distinct or separate. The Greek prefix α- (a-) is the equivalent of the English 'un-'. not. This is thought to indicate that the Aidia genus has been separated out from the similar genus Randia; racemosa is from the Latin racemosus, full of clusters. In the synonyms, Stylocoryna is from the Greek στυλος (stylos), a pillar used as a support, and κορυνη (koryné), a club; Randia is named for the apothecary Isaac Rand (1674-1743); lamprophylla is from λαμπρος (lampros), bright, radiant, and φυλλον (phyllon), a leaf.

aidia racemosa flowersflowersaidia racemosa fruitsgreen fruitsThis is a woody or herbaceous shrub that can grow up to 6 m in height. It is native to parts of China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, New Guinea and Australia. In Australia it occurs right across the top end, and down the Queensland coast as far as central Queensland. It grows at altitudes of from sea level to about 500 m, in both dry and monsoonal rainforests, in vine thickets and in open woodland.

aidia racemosa fruitsripe fruitsThe plant photographed was on the edge of the remnant rainforest at the back of Nelly Bay.

The branches are somewhat flattened, becoming subterete, and are glabrous. Although the leaves at first sight appear to be opposite, many of the ‘pairs’ of leaves are missing one of the leaves. The leaves are glossy green above, paler beneath; the petioles are about 5 mm long; the leaf blades thinly leathery, lanceolate to oblong-elliptic, in length 7–12 cm, in width 2–4 cm; the base is acute to cuneate, the apex acute; the stipules are caducous, shortly united around the stem, narrowly triangular, up to 5 mm long, the apex acuminate.

The inflorescences are cyme-like, with the cream-coloured flowers strongly perfumed; the calyx is up to 2 mm long, the lobes short; the corolla about 1 cm long, with the lobes about the same length as the tube, as are also the anthers.

The fruits are bright red darkening to purple, and less than 1 cm long, with the calyx tube persisting at the ends of the fruits. They are edible when fully ripe, rather tart, and with a texture I found rather unpleasant, though I suspect both taste and texture would vary considerably with the location of the bush, and the amount of water it receives.

The flowers attract butterflies, and the fruits birds.

Photographs taken 2012, 2013 Nelly Bay

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