Alectryon tomentosus

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Alectryon tomentosus - Hairy birds eye (2882164870).jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Sapindaceae
Genus: Alectryon
Species: A. tomentosus
Binomial name
Alectryon tomentosus
(F.Muell.) Radlk.[1]

Alectryon tomentosus, commonly known as the hairy birds eye, red jacket or woolly rambutan, is a rainforest tree of the Sapindaceae family found in eastern Australia. The specific epithet tomentosus refers to the hairy leaves and hairy young shoots.

It grows in many different types of rainforest on a variety of soil types. Seen as far south as the Hunter River, New South Wales and growing to the most far north eastern point of the Australian continent.[2] In its natural habitat it may reach 15 metres (50 ft) tall and a stem diameter of 30 cm (12 in).[3] It is generally a lot smaller in cultivation. The average normal flower and fruit drop are 40% and 90% respectively. The endosperm development is ab initio nuclear and cell formation commences at the micropylar end, proceeding towards the chalaza. The outer layers of the outer integument differentiate into the edible flesh of the fruit.[4] Alectryon tomentosus is an attractive tree, featuring jagged edged leaves, pink flowers and red fruit. The trunk is grey and smooth. It is often planted in gardens, parks or as a street tree. Green catbirds have been noticed eating the fruit.

First described in 1857 by Ferdinand von Mueller as Nephelium tomentosum from a collection on the Brisbane River,[5] it gained its current binomial name when reclassified by Ludwig Adolph Timotheus Radlkofer.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Alectryon tomentosus (F.Muell.) Radlk". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government. Retrieved 14 Dec 2013. 
  2. ^ Hyland, B. P. M.; Whiffin, T.; Zich, F. A.; et al. (Dec 2010). "Factsheet – Alectryon tomentosus". Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants. Edition 6.1, online version [RFK 6.1]. Cairns, Australia: Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), through its Division of Plant Industry; the Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research; the Australian Tropical Herbarium, James Cook University. Retrieved 14 Dec 2013. 
  3. ^ Floyd, A.G., Rainforest Trees of Mainland South-eastern Australia, Inkata Press 2008, ISBN 978-0-9589436-7-3 page 380
  4. ^ Lim, Ah Lan (1984). "The Reproductive Biology of Rambutan, Nephelium lappaceum L. (Sapindaceae)". The Gardens' Bulletin Singapore. 37 (2): 181–192. 
  5. ^ "Nephelium tomentosum F.Muell". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government. Retrieved 14 Dec 2013. 

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