A medium tree growing up to 20 m, but usually smaller. In dry rainforest, chiefly in the coastal ranges but also at lower altitudes away from the sea. Compound leaves, alternate, leaflets 6-8. Leaflets leathery, dark dull green above, paler below, oblong, sometimes wedge-shaped at base, 3-8 cm long. Cream flowers in branched panicles from upper leaf axils or terminal, September to October. Fruit is a capsule, yellow, rough-skinned, three-lobed, densely hairy inside. Three seeds, blackish surrounded by orange aril. Ripe November to January. A hardy, small tree with spreading crown creating good shade. Small panicles of pale flowers are followed by bird-attractive fruits. Tough in drier sites, but grows slowly. Seed should be sown fresh but may be damaged by grubs.

Photo: Robert Whyte

Juvenile

This photo shows Cupaniopsis sp. growing from seed or sucker in the vicinity of the large tree pictured above, showing larger leaves than the adult plant. This is common in juveniles trying to maximise the intake through what little foliage they have. Host plant for butterfly Bright Cornelian Deudorix diovis. Caterpillars tended by ants.

Parvifolia from Latin parvus meaning small, little, or insignificant and folium meaning a leaf referring to the smaller leaves of this species compared with the allied C. anacardioides.

Photo: Robert Whyte