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No. 53: Aphananthe philippinensis,


The Native Elm.

(Natural Order URTICACEÆ.)

Botanical description.

— Genus, Aphananthe, Planch.

Flowers. — Monœecious, the males in axillary cymes, the females solitary or two together.

Perianth. — In both sexes of 4 or 5 segments, imbricate in the bud.

Stamens. — In the males 4 or 5, the filaments short, slightly incurved in the bud.

Pistil. — Rudimentary.

Styles. — In the females deeply divided into linear acute entire branches papillose-hirsute inside.

Ovule. — Pendulous, or laterally attached near the top.

Drupe. — Ovoid, slightly compressed, the endocarp crustaceous.

Seed. — Nearly globular; testa membraneous; albumen little or none.

Embryo. — Curved or involute, the outer larger cotyledon enclosing the smaller one.

Tree or shrub.

Leaves. — Alternate, penniveined.

Stipules. — Very small or none.

Male cymes. — In the axils of the old leaves.

Female Flowers. — Sessile or shortly pedicellate in the lower axils of the young shoots.

Botanical description.

— Species, A. philippinensis, Planch., in Ann. Sc. Nat. ser. 3, X, 337.

A tree or small shrub, glabrous or scabrous pubescent.

Leaves. — Shortly petiolate, broadly ovate to elliptical, acute or almost obtuse, rigidly membraneous or coriaceous, scabrous, the primary veins very prominent underneath, and although anastomosing near the margin, generally produced into small rigid mucronate teeth, the whole leaf usually 1 to 2 inches long, but on some barren specimens the leaves larger, ovate-lanceolate, truncate or almost cordate at the base, the marginal teeth more prominent; on other specimens the leaves smaller, broader, and deeply divided into pungent-pointed lobes.

Male cymes. — Almost sessile but loose.

Perianth segments. — Broad, concave, ciliolate.

Anthers. — Half exserted when fully out.

Female perianth. — Segments narrower.

Fruit. — Ovoid, acuminate, about 3 lines long.

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The original description by Planchon is not readily available, and is given here for convenience of reference. The introductory matter on p. 265 is necessary for an understanding of Planchon's remarks.

[P. 265.] Flores monoici. — Masc. Periantho 4-partitum, laciniis concavis, æstivatione biseriatim valde imbricatis. Stamina Sponiæ. Fœmin. Perianth, 4-partiti laciniis ovato-lanceolatis, erectis, basi imbricatis. Ovarium oblongum, pilis cinereis brevibus strigosum. Styli 2, ovario longiores, cylindracei, papillis piliformibus brevibus stigmatosi. Fructus......

Frutex v. arbor? Philippinicus, vegetatione Sponiæ. Folia trinervia, serrata, leviter aspera. Cymulae masculæ paucifloræ, abbreviatæ glomeruliformes, longiuscule pedicellatæ, plures in racemum contractuni, brevissinium congestw, racemis axillas folioruni adultoruni occupantibus. Flores fœinei fere omnes in axillis foliorum novellorum sessiles, v. brevissime pedunculati, uno v. altero passim cymulæ masculæ supremæ intermixto.

Gen. iii. Aphananthe, Planch........vide supra, p. 265.

Sp. unica. A. philippinensis.

Hab. in insula Luconia, Philippinarum; Cuming No. 1311 in herb Hook. Rami sub. tempore florescentiæ foliis adultis ornati, novellis tamen una cum floribus sese explicantibus. Folia disticha breve petiolata, elliptico v. subovato lanceolata, pollicem et ultra longa, submidio lata, basi integra cuneata, apice acuminata, acumine integro obtuso, v. rarius acutiusculo, cæterum remote et obtuse dentata, utrinque tactu asperula, utrinque puncticulis minutissimis impressis, sparsa, nervis tantum subtus sparse pilosulis, novella siccitate nigrescentia. Petioli 1–1/2 lin. longi, supra unisulci. Inflorescentiæ masculæ ex axillis foliorum adultorum ortæ primum stipulis (folium nullum stipantibus, ideoque bractearum vicem gerentibus) brevibus, crassis, bifariam imbricatis, utrinque circiter 4, persistentibus, quasi squamis gemmaceis, tectae, e cymulis constantes pauciflorus glomeruliformibus, longiuscule pedicellatis, in racemum brevum aphyllum congestis. Pedicelli cymulæ cujusvis bractea stipati ovata, interdum bidentata (e duobus stipulis concretis?) graciles solitarii v. terni, 4–5 lin. longi. Cymufle e floribus 3–5brevissinie pedicellatis, bracteolis illinutis stipatis constantes. Rachides pedicellique pilosuli. Flores fœminei in axillis foliorum novellorum sæpius subsessiles v. brevissime pedicellati. Styli circiter 1 lin. longi.

Botanical Name.

— Aphananthe, Greek aphanes, unseen or invisible, anthos, a flower, in reference to the inconspicuous flowers; philippinensis — this plant was first described from the island of Luzon, in the Philippines.

Vernacular Names.

— Most usually called Elm — it certainly resembles that tree in foliage, and to some extent in habit — but also "Rough-leaved Hickory."

Aboriginal Names.

— "Mail" and "Monduar Gourabie" are aboriginal names quoted by Mr. Charles Moore as formerly current in the Clarence and Richmond River Districts. Mr. Bailey quotes Mr. E. Cowley for the name "Mallban" in use on the Barron River, Queensland.

Dr. Elmer D. Merrill gives the name "Cha" (Tagalog dialect) for an Aphananthe in the Philippine Islands, presumably the present species.


— Taxotrophis rectinervis, F. Muell. Fragm. vi, 192; Sponia ilicifolia, S. Kurz, in Flora, 1872, 448.

Epicarpurus orientalis is the name given in the catalogue to specimen No. 33 of C. Moore's Northern Woods (London Exhibition, 1862), which (B.Fl. vi, 160) is attributed by Bentham to Aphananthe philippinensis. The names are not really synonyms, and the explanation of the use of the Epicarpurus is doubtless explained by the third paragraph of p. 193 of Vol. vi of Mueller's Fragmenta.

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— Note their very rough sand-papery texture.


— lt is used at Taree, on the Manning River, for axe-handles, etc.

Timber said to be durable, very hard, not used. — (C. Moore, Cat. N.S.W. Timbers, Lond. Exh., 1862.)

Little is known about this timber, hence the somewhat conflicting statements concerning it.

In the Cat. Queensland Timbers, London Exh. of 1862, this wood (referred to as Celtis sp.) was stated by Mr. Hill to be "in bad repute for durability." It is used for linings, ceilings, etc. It may be found a useful wood for turners. It is close-grained, light in colour, and Mr. Bailey suggests that it might do for stamps.


— Varying in size from 50 to 70 feet (C. Moore). We have a tree in the Botanic Gardens, Sydney, about 45 feet high with a stem diameter of 4 feet at 1 foot from the ground. At 2 feet from the ground it branches, one stem being 1 foot and the other 2 feet in diameter.


— The following localities are given in the Flora Australiensis:—


Clarence River (Wilcox, Beekler); Clarence and Richmond brushes, Northern Woods, London Exhibition, 1862, C. Moore, No. 33.


Brisbane River, Moretori Bay (F. Mueller); Queensland Woods, London Exhibition, 1862, W. Hill, No. 86; Rockhampton, (O'Shanesy); Rockhampton Bay (Dallachy).

It is a tree of the coastal brushes of New South Wales and Queensland. I have it from as far south as the Manning River; its extreme northern limit (in Queensland) requires to be ascertained.


Plate 50: Native Elm (Apananthe philippinensis, Planch.). Lithograph by M. Flockton.

  • A. Branches, with staminate flowers.
  • B. Fruiting branch.
  • C. Staminate flower, front view.
  • D. Staminate flower, back view.
  • E. Pistillate flower.
  • F. Fruit showing (a) persistent stigmatic branches.
  • G. Vertical section of fruit showing (a) pendulous ovule.
  • H. Seed.

(Specimens from Ash Island, Hunter River.)

Supplementary Material Added at the End of Volume 2

No. 53. Part XIII.

Aphananthe philippinensis, Planch.


(Natural Order URTICACEÆ.)

Habitat. — See vol. ii, p. 73.

Mr. R. H. Cambage informs me that he has collected this species at Stroud, which remains its most southern recorded locality so far.

* Proc. Linn. Soc. N. S. W., 1905, p. 512.