Argyrodendron Notes

Argyrodendron actinophyllum (Bailey) Edlin
Argyrodendron peralatum (Bailey) Edlin ex J.H.Boas
Argyrodendron polyandrum L.S.Smith
Argyrodendron trifoliolatum F.Muell.

 English (Australian) Booyong English (Australian) Tulip Oak

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Argyrodendron is a genus, native to Queensland, northeastern New South Wales, and the Morobe region of Papua New Guinea, of plants belonging to subfamily Sterculioideae/tribe Sterculieae) of the angiosperm family Malvaceae sensu APG. There are 4 decribed species, and a further 6 species awaiting description. (I am assuming that Argyrodendron riedelianum Pierre, also known as Tarrietia riedeliana Oliver, from Sulawesi and Mindanao, is correctly placed in Heritiera.)

Although Argyrodendron was described in 1858, it has not been continuously recognised since then, most commonly being treated as a synonym of Tarrietia or Heritiera. However a recently published DNA sequence for Argyrodendron peralatum shows the genus as being more closely related to Francisodendron (another Queensland endemic) than to Heritiera/Tarrietia. Consequently I recognise the genus as separate from Heritiera.

The name Argyrodendron was invalidly used for some euphorbiaceous plants now placed in Croton (A. bicolor, A. ovatum) and Combretum (A. petersii).

Like all the genera of the subfamily Sterculioideae Argyrodendron has apetalous flowers. It shares with Heritiera the characteristics of producing indehiscent, winged or strongly keeled, single-seeded, fruit carpels.

Argyrodendron actinophyllum (F. M. Bail.) H. L. Edlin
English (Australian) Black Booyong, Blackjack, Blush Tulip Oak, Booyong, Crowsfoot Elm, Mackay Tulip Oak, Stave Wood, Tulip Oak
Estonian must kukkurpuu

Argyrodendron actinophyllum is a prominently buttressed tree, reaching 10 to 20 m in height, native to southern Queensland. The leaves are palmate, with around 7 ovate-lanceolate leaflet with undulate margins. The inflorescence is a dense spray of small white flowers, borne in the autumn, followed by winged seeds.

Synonyms of Argyrodendron actinophyllum include Heritiera actinophylla (F.M.Bailey) Kosterm., Tarrietia actinophylla F.M.Bailey and Tarrietia argyrodendron var. actinophylla F.Muell..

Argyrodendron peralatum (F. M. Bail.) H. L. Edlin
English (Australian) Johnstone River Red Beech, Red Crowsfoot, Red Crowsfoot Elm, Red Tulip Oak, Tulip Oak

Argyrodendron peraltum is a large tree attaining a height of 40 to 45 m. It is quite common in the tropical rain forests of the Atherton Tableland and the foothills of Mt. Bartle Frere in central Queensland. [1]. The underside of the leaves have a bronze coloration. The inflorescence is composed of cream-coloured campanulate flowers.

Synonyms of Argyrodendron peralatum include Argyrodendron trifoliolatum var. peralatum (F.M.Bailey) Burtt Davey, Heritiera peralata (Domin) Kosterm., Heritiera peralata (F.M.Bailey) Kosterm., Tarrietia argyrodendron var. peralata F.M.Bailey, Tarrietia peralata (F.M.Bailey) Domin and Tarrietia trifoliolata var. peralata F.M.Bailey.

Argyrodendron polyandrum (F. M. Bail.) H. L. Edlin
English (Australian) Black Tulip Oak, Booyong, Brown Oak, Brown Crowsfoot Elm, Brown Tulip Oak, Crowsfoot Elm, Hickory, Highroot, Stavewood

Argyrodendron polyandrum in found in northern Queensland. It has cream-coloured flowers.

Synonyms of Argyrodendron peralatum include Heritiera polyandra (L.S.Smith) Kosterm..

Argyrodendron trifoliolatum F.Muell.
English (International) Queensland Silver Tree, Silver Tree
English (Australian) Booyong, Brown Booyong, Brown Oak, Brown Crowsfoot Elm, Brown Tulip Oak, Crowsfoot Elm, Hickory, Highroot, Red Booyong, Silky Elm, Stave Wood, Three Leaved Stavewood, White Booyong

Argyrodendron trifoliolatum is a tree, growing to 15-20 m in height, native to southern Queensland and northeastern New South Wales, where it grows in the drier parts of the rainforest. It is glabrous, except for minute scurfy scales on the young shoots and inflorescences and often on the underside of the leaves. The leaves are petiolate and palmately compound with 3, or on youinger trees, 3 or 5, leaflets. The leaflets are 3 to 4 inches long, oblong or lanceolate in shape, with obtuse or acuminate apices, and coriaceous in texture. The flowers are borne in the spring, and occur in dense terminal panicles. They are apetalous, with a 5-lobed petaloid campanulate cream calyx about ¼" in diameter. They are unisexual, though from the description given appear to have sterile parts of the other sex present.The fruit consists of 3 to 5 indehiscent samaras, reminiscent in form of the individual keys of a maple (Acer).

Several varieties of this species (grandiflorum, macrophyllum, angustifolium) have been described.

Synonyms of Argyrodendron trifoliolatum include Heritiera trifoliolata (F.Muell.) Kosterm., Tarrietia argyrodendron Benth., Tarrietia carronii C.Moore, Tarrietia trifoliolata var. trifoliata (F.Muell.) F.Muell. and Tarrietia trifoliolata (F.Muell.) F.Muell..

Other Species

The remaining species are known by their localities.

Argyrodendron sp. Morobe
New Guinea Tulip Oak

Argyrodendron is present in the Morobe region of Papua New Guinea where it is found on ridges as part of the mid-mountain rain forest community. It is recorded as Argyrodendron trifoliolata. However its distribution is remote from the Australian distribution of that species, with several other species found in the intervening regions, and the descriptions of the plants appear to have a number of discrepancies, so I am describing it here separately.

It is an upright growing tree, reaching 30-40m in height, with a bole which is markedly fluted, and up to 120 cm in diameter. Buttresses are either absent, or are not prominent. The bark is grey or pale brown.

The foliage is alternate, spirally arranged, compound (trifoliolate), petiolate, and discolorous. Stipules are described as absent.

The flowers are borne in brached, axillary, inflorescences. They are described as hermaphrodite. (If this is correct this is a difference from Argyrodendron trifoliolata, but they might be functionally unisexual.). The calyx is composed of 5 fused sepals, each 3 to5 mm long, but is deeply lobed. The outer surface of the sepals is red or brown, and densely covered with scales. The inner surface is white or yellow. There are circa 20 stamens, which are fused basally to form a staminal tube. The ovary is superior and composed of 5 separate carpels, each with a single locule. There are 5, free, styles. The fruit is an aggregrate of indehiscent samaras. The wing is 2-5 cm long, and about as broad. The remainder of the samara is 0.5-1 cm in diameter, brownish-red or brown and densely covered with red-brown scales, but otherwise smooth in texture, and contains 2 or 3 seeds, ech about 10 mm long.

Argyrodendron sp. Boonjie
Boonjie Tulip Oak

A species from the Atherton Tableland, where it co-occurs with Argyrodendron peralatum.

Argyrodendron sp. Karnak

Argyrodendron sp. Kin Kin
Copper Booyong, Rusty Tulip Oak

A photograph of this is available on the web, which show a plant with discolorous trifoliolate leaves, and winged fruits, with copper-coloured wings, and a rust-coloured globular structure enclosing the seed.

Argyrodendron sp. Mt. Haig

Argyrodendron sp. Whitsundays

Argyrodendron sp. Whyanbeel
Palm Tulip Oak

A photograph of this is available on the web, which shows this to have apetalous flowers with a calyx of 5 creamy-yellow sepals (the buds are pinkish, which might also be the case for the underside of the sepals), fused for about half their length, with what appears to be a ring of around 5 yellow scale-like staminodes surrounding a cluster of crimson-pink stamens and a style with 5 spreading white style branches. Yuruga Nursery describe it as a spectacular small tree with huge fan-shaped leaves when young, and with new vegetative growth covered with attractive pink hairs.


  1. Johns et al, Alkaloids of Argyrodendron peralatum (Sterculiaceae): Identification of Nα-cinnamonylhistamine, Aust. J. Chem. 22: 1309-1310 (1969(

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