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One species in this family, Corynocarpus cribbianus, occurs in rain forests of north-east Queensland, while a few other species occur in Papua New Guinea and Polynesia including New Zealand.

Characteristic features of the family Corynocarpaceae in Australia include:

  • tree, with simple, entire, alternate leaves
  • flowers regular, with 5 alternating petals and sepals, a whorl of petaloid staminodes, and 5 fertile stamens
  • ovary superior, with a single pendulous ovule, developing into a fleshy, red drupe


Evergreen trees or rarely shrubs. Internal secretions not obvious. Plants glabrous. Leaves alternate and spiral, or apparently whorled, petiolate. Stipules present, intrapetiolar, scale-like or membranous, often falling off early and apparently absent. Lamina simple, symmetric, lanceolate, ovate, elliptic, oblanceolate or obovate; base cuneate or attenuate; margins entire or spiny, ±flat, revolute or recurved; venation pinnate, with the midrib conspicuous, and the tertiary venation reticulate; surfaces not punctate; leathery. Plants with all the flowers bisexual. Inflorescences terminal, consisting of panicles or cymes. Bracts present. Pollination by insects. Flowers odourless; stalked. Floral disc absent; nectaries present on the stamens. Perianth regular, of 2 dissimilar whorls, imbricate in bud. Calyx segments free, with 5 sepals; herbaceous. Corolla segments free, with 5 petals, alternating with the sepals, white or cream, without contrasting markings, membranous; lobes ±entire. Fertile stamens 5, alternating with the sepals, free of the corolla, at least partly fused with the ovary or style, distinct from each other, all ±equal. Staminodes present. Anthers dorsifixed, not versatile, opening inwards by longitudinal slits; 2-celled. Ovary superior and sessile. Carpel 1; ovary with 1 locule. Style terminal, single and unbranched. Ovule 1, sessile; placentation apical. Fruit a fleshy, indehiscent drupe; the perianth on the maturing fruit deciduous. Disseminule micro-surface ±smooth, red, glossy. Seeds 1 per fruit. Aril absent. Cotyledons 2. Embryo straight.
(Note: this description has been generated from the coded data compiled for the key. Any errors in the key data will be reflected in the descriptions.)

A treatment of the family Corynocarpaceae has been published in:
Flora of Australia 22: 214-215.

Australian genera of Corynocarpaceae (as recognised for the Flora of Australia)


Corynocarpus cribbianus (fruits)
Photo: G.Sankowski Zodiac Publications 

Corynocarpus rupestris (flowers)
Photo: G.Leiper G.Leiper 

Corynocarpus rupestris (fruit)
Photo: G.Leiper G.Leiper