Denhamia celastroides (CELASTRACEAE) Denhamia, Orange boxwood

Plants to Plant

Small tree to 7 m, branchlets striate. Grows in most types of rainforest and margins with wet sclerophyll forest. Leaves elliptic to oblanceolate, rarely lanceolate, mostly 4-12 cm long, 10-45 mm wide, apex acute, sometimes acuminate or rounded, margins finely and often irregularly toothed to rarely entire, hairless and glossy, veins slightly raised on upper surface; petiole 2-5 mm long. Green to orange, globular three-segmented capsule splitting to reveal a brown seed surrounded by a red aril. Fruit is ripe February to June.

Photo: Robert Whyte

Flowers in Bud

The leaves are quite variable, as you can see by the photo above with narrow leaves, and this one with broad, more egg-shaped (ovate) leaves. These seem to be variations between individual plants, in this case growing side by side. The insect shown here is a crane fly, family Tipulidae, possibly a Tiger Crane Fly Nephrotoma australasiae. Flies in this family look like giant mosquitoes.

Photo: Robert Whyte

New Growth

These specimens at Walton Bridge Reserve are growing right next to one of the Celastrus genera, C. subspicatus, also in the Celastracae. Looking at them side by side one can clearly see the resemblance in the leaves which has led to the species name.

Celastrus subspicatus (CELASTRACEAE) Large Leaved Staff Vine

Photo: Robert Whyte

Flowers Close-up

Creamy green flower spikes from leaf axils from October to November are unspectacular, rather small and blending in with the foliage. The name Denhamia after Captain Dixon Denham (1786-1826), English traveller and explorer; celastroides from family Celastraceae and Greek oides resembling because of the species resemblance to the genus Celastrastrus

Photo: Robert Whyte