Synoum glandulosum (MELIACEAE) Scentless Rosewood, Bastard Rosewood

Plants to Plant

Small tree to 7 m high, with brown scaly bark, new growth pubescent, widespread in warmer rainforest, north from Milton, NSW. Handsome foliage plant for rainforest garden. Beautiful red fruit in spring and summer. Leaves to 30 cm long; leaflets 3 to 11, terminal one largest, oblanceolate to obovate or oblong-elliptic, apex usually blunt-acuminate, base attenuate, margins entire, hairless except for prominent hairy domatia; petiole 2-6 cm, petiolules up to 3 mm long. Synoum is a monotypic genus of evergreen tree in the mahogany family, Meliaceae. It is endemic to Australia where it is found along the eastern subtropical to tropical coastline, usually on the margins of rainforests. The only species described is S. glandulosum, known commonly as Scentless Rosewood. It resembles the related Toona, except that the leaves have 5-9 leaflets, whereas Toona has 8-20. Its fruit is a reddish three-lobed capsule that contains two or three seeds surrounded by a red aril.

Photo: Bryan Hacker

Leaf with Domatia

This photo shows the leaf with the obvious hairy domatia. Flowers are panicles, with white to pinkish petals. The name means full of glands.
Photo: Bryan Hacker


The red fruit is an important food tree for birds during the spring months. It is food for the King Parrot, among others.
Photo: Bryan Hacker