The species was formally described in 1859 by botanist Ferdinand von Mueller, having been collected from the summit of Mt Lindsay. It was named in honour of Sir William Macleay. It is one of two species that belong to the genus Anopterus.
Anopterus macleayanus can grow up to 15 metres (50 ft) high and has oblanceolate (spear-shaped) leaves that are 10-to-30 cm long (3.9-to-11.8 in) and 2-to-4 cm wide (0.79-to-1.57 in) with blunt serrated margins. The juvenile leaves may be considerably larger. The petioles and leaf bases are red-tinged. The white flowers occur in racemes between October and December (mid spring to early summer) in its native range.
Anopterus macleayanus is a plant of warm-temperate and subtropical rainforest from the Comboyne Plateau in New South Wales northwards into Queensland.
Its long leaves with wavy margins and red-pink highlights give it horticultural potential. Anopterus macleayanus grows best in part-shaded positions in well-drained soil in the garden, with added water during the summer. As a rainforest floor plant, it requires a sheltered position when becoming established in the garden. It is resilient but can be slow-growing. It can be grown in containers, even as an indoor plant.
- "Anopterus macleayanus". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government.
- Harden, G.J. "New South Wales Flora Online: Anopterus macleayanus". Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust, Sydney, Australia.
- Elliot, Rodger W.; Jones, David L.; Blake, Trevor (1985). Encyclopaedia of Australian Plants Suitable for Cultivation. 2. Port Melbourne, Victoria: Lothian Press. p. 103; 204. ISBN 0-85091-143-5.
- Williams, G. A.; Adam, P.; Mound, L. A. (2001). "Add to e-Shelf Thrips (Thysanoptera) pollination in Australian subtropical rainforests, with particular reference to pollination of Wilkiea huegeliana (Monimiaceae)". Journal of Natural History. 35 (1): 1–21. doi:10.1080/002229301447853.
- Ratcliffe, David & Patricia (1987). Australian Native Plants for Indoors. Crows Nest, NSW: Little Hills Press. p. 54. ISBN 0-949773-49-2.
- Hockings, F.D. (1979). "Rainforest Plants as Garden Plants". Australian Plants. 9 (76): 335-47 .