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L. grandis, planted in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
Order: Proteales
Family: Proteaceae
Subfamily: Grevilleoideae
Genus: Lasjia
P.H.Weston & A.R.Mast
Type species
Lasjia claudiensis
(C.L.Gross & B.Hyland) P.H.Weston & A.R.Mast[1]

Lasjia is a genus of five known species of trees, constituting part of the plant family Proteaceae.[1][2][3] Three species grow naturally in north–eastern Queensland, Australia and two species in Sulawesi, Indonesia.[1][4][5][6] Descriptively they are the tropical or northern macadamia trees group.[5] Lasjia species characteristically branched compound inflorescences differentiate them from the Macadamia species, of Australia, which have characteristically unbranched compound inflorescences and only grow naturally about 1,000 km (620 mi) further to the south, in southern and central eastern Queensland and in north–eastern New South Wales.[5]

Bama first Australian peoples in the late 1800s Bellenden Ker Range rainforests (north east Queensland), taught European–Australian scientists of L. whelanii trees bearing the large seeds "extensively used for food".[7][8] One of those scientists, colonial botanist Frederick M. Bailey collected and in 1889 formally published a scientific description of specimens of them under the name Helicia whelanii and later again in 1901 as a species of Macadamia. Of these five Lasjia species, it was the first to receive a European–Australian scientific name.[2][7][9]

Names and classification[edit]

Genetics studies published in 2008 by Austin Mast and colleagues show they have separated from the genus Macadamia, correlating less closely than previously thought from morphological studies. The ancestors of Lasjia appear to have diverged just under 30 million years ago in the Oligocene epoch from a lineage which has given rise to the Australian genus Macadamia, the South African species Brabejum stellatifolium, Australian rainforest species Nothorites megacarpus and South American genus Panopsis.[1]

The genus name was coined from the initials of Lawrence Alexander Sidney Johnson (L.A.S.J.), who had done much pioneering work on the Proteaceae. The type species is Lasjia claudiensis.[1][5] L. claudiensis and L. grandis were only formally scientifically described as recently as 1993 under the genus Macadamia, with botanists making field collections of scientific specimens only since about 1948.[5][10] Genetics studies to date, report L. whelanii as the earliest offshoot within the genus.[1]


Synonym, base name: Macadamia claudiensis C.L.Gross & B.Hyland[5][10]
Synonym, base name: Macadamia erecta J.A.McDonald & R.Ismail[4]
Synonym, base name: Macadamia grandis C.L.Gross & B.Hyland[5][10]
Synonym, base name: Macadamia hildebrandii Steenis[6]
Synonyms: base name: Helicia whelanii F.M.Bailey;[7][9] Macadamia whelanii (F.M.Bailey) F.M.Bailey[9][10]

Descriptions and natural distributions[edit]

All species grow naturally into trees, with whorled simple adult leaves with smooth margins (unserrated, spineless) and bearing their flowers in branched compound inflorescences generally at the ends of the foliage or sometimes from older branches under the foliage.[1][15] The fruits of L. claudiensis, L. grandis, L. hildebrandii, L. whelanii have thin inner shells (testa) of about 1–2 mm (0.04–0.08 in) unlike the well known macadamia nuts' thicker woody inner shells.[5][6][16]

L. claudiensis and L. grandis have significantly larger fruits and seeds; they have fruits diameters of 6.5 ± 1.5 cm (2.6 ± 0.6 in) and 5–7 cm (2.0–2.8 in) respectively and seeds diameters of 5.5–6.5×5 cm long (2.2–2.6×2.0 in) and 3–4 cm (1.2–1.6 in) respectively.[5][11][12]

L. claudiensis grows naturally only (endemic) in the Iron Range region of Cape York Peninsula, far north Queensland, in more seasonally dry rainforests and gallery forests, from about 0 to 600 m (0 to 1,969 ft) altitude.[5][10][11][15] L. claudiensis has the Australian national conservation status listing of "vulnerable" in the Australian government Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC),[17] and the Queensland official state conservation status of "vulnerable" species in the Queensland government Nature Conservation Act 1992.[18]

L. grandis grows naturally only (endemic) in the rainforests of the Wet Tropics region of north eastern Queensland, from about 0 to 460 m (0 to 1,509 ft) altitude.[5][10][12][15] L. grandis trees received their name for growing to the largest size of the macadamia group,[5] of up to about 40 m (130 ft), with trunks up to 120 cm (47 in) diameter, with some having buttresses. L. grandis has an official Queensland state conservation status of "vulnerable" species in the Queensland government Nature Conservation Act 1992.[18]

L. whelanii grows naturally only (endemic) in the rainforests of the Wet Tropics region of north eastern Queensland, from about 0 to 700 m (0 to 2,297 ft) altitude.[10][14][15]

L. hilderbrandii and L. erecta grow naturally only (endemic) in Sulawesi (Indonesia) and its smaller adjacent islands, and there's even less published knowledge of them.[4][6] Up to the date of 1995, all populations of L. hilderbrandii were found below 450 m (1,480 ft) altitude, except one specimen collection. A collection beyond Sulawesi was made in west Sumatra, although whether its origin was natural and a significant extension of range or a recently introduced plant, was unconfirmed in 1995.[4] Up to 1995, all populations found of L. erecta were between 900 and 1,700 m (3,000 and 5,600 ft) altitude.[4] Therefore, as far as was known in 1995, the two species have separate habitats and geographic distributions (allopatric).[4] The two species clearly have a close evolutionary relationship with many characteristics in common, endemic to the Sulawesi region, the flower structures in whorls of racemes at the ends of uppermost branches and the whorled leaves with smooth margins.[4] The distinctive characteristics of L. erecta of short and erect flower structures and of smaller leaves in whorls of four compare to the characteristics of L. hildebrandii of flower structures longer and arching or pendulous and of larger leaves in whorls of five to seven.[4]

Uses for foods[edit]

Bama, rainforest peoples of the Wet Tropics region of north eastern Queensland, Australia, make foods from carefully preparing L. whelanii’s toxic seeds containing cyanide producing molecules (cyanogenic glycosides).[7][9][10][14][16]

Peoples of Sulawesi (Indonesia) make foods from the, uncertain and inconclusively toxic or nontoxic seeds of L. hildebrandii, according to incomplete English language documentation.[4][5][6][19]

Umpila and related peoples in the Iron Range region make use of L. claudiensis and Bama peoples of the Wet Tropics region also make use of L. grandis, apparently knowing them well for their uses and regarding their distributions, respectively.[8] Only in recent decades has English language botanical science recognised, described and published brief documentation about these two species, with more learning or field work required to record their full distributions and uses.[5][11][12][17] The few documents available are the brief journal paper formally scientifically describing these two species,[5] the published archaeological work of Nicky Horsfall’s journal papers and PhD and the reports of the 1889 Archibald Meston expedition; the latter two bodies of work were undertaken in the Bellenden Ker Range region.[8][20]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Mast, Austin R.; Willis, Crystal L.; Jones, Eric H.; Downs, Katherine M.; Weston, Peter H. (July 2008). "A smaller Macadamia from a more vagile tribe: inference of phylogenetic relationships, divergence times, and diaspore evolution in Macadamia and relatives (tribe Macadamieae; Proteaceae)". American Journal of Botany. 95 (7): 843–870. ISSN 1537-2197. PMID 21632410. doi:10.3732/ajb.0700006. Retrieved 4 Apr 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Lasjia%". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), Integrated Botanical Information System (IBIS) database (listing by % wildcard matching of all taxa relevant to Australia). Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government. Retrieved 26 Apr 2013. 
  3. ^ Hyland et al. (2010) [RFK 6.1] "Factsheet – Proteaceae". Retrieved 6 Apr 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i McDonald, J. A.; Ismail, R. (1995). "Macadamia erecta (Proteaceae), a new species from Sulawesi". Harvard Papers in Botany. 7: 7–10. ISSN 1043-4534. JSTOR 41761991.  (journal webpage)
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Gross, Caroline L.; Hyland, Bernie P. M. (1993). "Two New Species of Macadamia (Proteaceae) from North Queensland". Australian Systematic Botany. 6 (4): 343–350. doi:10.1071/sb9930343. Retrieved 16 Apr 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Sleumer (1955) Flora Malesiana. Digitised, online "Macadamia hildebrandii". Retrieved 6 Apr 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c d Bailey, Frederick M. (1889). "Botany of the Bellenden-Ker Expedition". In Meston, A. Report of the Government scientific expedition to Bellenden-Ker range upon the flora and fauna of that part of the colony. Brisbane, Queensland: Department of Agriculture. James C. Beal, Government Printer. pp. (29–80), 55, 125 (also). Retrieved 17 Apr 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c Horsfall, Nicky; Hall, Jay (1990). "People and the rainforest: An archaeological perspective". In Webb, Len J.; Kikkawa, Jiro. Australian Tropical Rainforests: Science — Values — Meaning. East Melbourne, Vic: CSIRO. pp. 33–39. ISBN 0643050558. 
  9. ^ a b c d Dowe, John Leslie; Broughton, Alan D. (2007). "F.M. Bailey's ascent of Mt Bellenden-Ker in 1889, and notes on the publication priority of new vascular plant species from the expedition" (PDF). Austrobaileya. 7 (3): 555–566. ISSN 0155-4131. Retrieved 16 Apr 2013. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h Gross, Caroline L. (1995). "Macadamia". In McCarthy, Patrick. Flora of Australia: Volume 16: Eleagnaceae, Proteaceae 1 (online version). Flora of Australia series. CSIRO Publishing / Australian Biological Resources Study. pp. 419–425. ISBN 978-0-643-05692-3. 
  11. ^ a b c d Hyland et al. (2010) [RFK 6.1] "Factsheet – Lasjia claudiensis". Retrieved 6 Apr 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c d Hyland et al. (2010) [RFK 6.1] "Factsheet – Lasjia grandis". Retrieved 6 Apr 2013. 
  13. ^ Sleumer (1955) Flora Malesiana. Digitised, online "Macadamia hildebrandii illustration". Retrieved 6 Apr 2013. 
  14. ^ a b c Hyland et al. (2010) [RFK 6.1] "Factsheet – Lasjia whelanii". Retrieved 6 Apr 2013. 
  15. ^ a b c d Cooper, Wendy; Cooper, William T. (June 2004). "Macadamia F.Muell.". Fruits of the Australian Tropical Rainforest. Clifton Hill, Victoria, Australia: Nokomis Editions. p. 416. ISBN 9780958174213. Retrieved 3 Dec 2013. 
  16. ^ a b Wrigley, John; Fagg, Murray (1991). Banksias, Waratahs and Grevilleas. Sydney: Angus & Robertson. pp. 453–59. ISBN 0-207-17277-3. 
  17. ^ a b Lasjia claudiensis, Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment and Heritage, Australia. Retrieved 14 Dec 2013
  18. ^ a b Queensland Government (27 Sep 2013). "Nature Conservation (Wildlife) Regulation 2006" (PDF). Nature Conservation Act 1992. Online, accessed from Australia. p. 52. Retrieved 28 Nov 2013. 
  19. ^ Hardner, Craig M.; Peace, Cameron; et al. (2009). "Genetic Resources and Domestication of Macadamia". In Janick, Jules. Horticultural Reviews. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. pp. 1–125. ISBN 9780470593776. Retrieved 11 Apr 2013. 
  20. ^ Hill, Ro; Baird, Adelaide (2003). "Kuku-Yalanji rainforest Aboriginal people and carbohydrate resource management in the wet tropics of Queensland, Australia". Human Ecology. 30: 27–52. 

Cited works[edit]