|Pink flowered doughwood at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney|
Ferdinand von Mueller
Habitat and description
Melicope elleryana is a small to medium rainforest tree growing to 25 metres tall with a diameter of 60 cm. Its natural range is from the Clarence River (29° S) in New South Wales to tropical northern Australia. It is also found in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. It is usually found in riverine rainforest areas.
Its trunk is almost white, of a doughy appearance, with a thick layer of soft corky dead bark. The trunk is slightly buttressed or flanged at the base.
Its opposite leaflets are in threes, mostly ovate, 6 to 13 cm long, tapering to a blunt point at the tip. This tree is the favoured food plant for the Ulysses butterfly, Papilio ulysses.
Flowers, fruit and germination
The fruit is a two to four cell dry cocci. Fruit matures from July to December, splitting down one side exposing a single shiny black flattened seed, 4 to 5 mm long. Germination is unpredictable, starting within 30 days or possibly taking several years. Soaking the seeds for several days appears to remove some of the germination inhibitors.