Buchanania Arborescens Descriptive Essay

Buchanania arborescens, Little gooseberry tree, is a small slender tree native to monsoon forests of northern Australia, south-east Asia, and the Solomon Islands.

The leaves are spirally arranged, smooth, leathery, elongated oblong, 5–26 cm long. The flowers are very small cream to yellowish white. The edible fruit are globular, small (1 cm long), reddish to purple-black. These are eaten by Torresian imperial pigeons and other birds.[2]

The species was formally described in 1826 by botanist Carl Ludwig Blume based on plant specimens collected from Java. Initially naming it Coniogeton arborescens, Blume transferred the species to the genus Buchanania in 1850.[3]

In Australia the species occurs naturally across the northern extremities of the continent from Western Australia and across the Northern Territory to Queensland where it extends down the east coast as far south as Hinchinbrook Island.[4][2]


Aboriginal people eat the fruit raw. The plant is also used as a traditional medicine in Australia and Malaysia.[5]


  1. ^"Buchanania arborescens (Blume) Blume". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government. Retrieved 29 August 2013. 
  2. ^ abHyland, B. P. M.; Whiffin, T.; Zich, F. A. et al. (Dec 2010). "Factsheet – Buchanania arborescens". Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants. Edition 6.1, online version [RFK 6.1]. Cairns, Australia: Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, through its Division of Plant Industry; the Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research; the Australian Tropical Herbarium, James Cook University. Retrieved 29 August 2013. 
  3. ^"Buchanania arborescens (Blume) Blume". Flora of AustraliaOnline. Department of the Environment and Heritage, Australian Government. 
  4. ^"Buchanania arborescens (Blume) Blume". FloraBase. Department of Environment and Conservation, Government of Western Australia. 
  5. ^Brock, J., Top End Native Plants, 1988. ISBN 0-7316-0859-3

Buchanania arborescens (Blume) Blume, Mus. Bot. 1 (1850): 183

(Latin for 'tree-like')

Buchanania angustifolia Benth. [Illegitimate]
Buchanania arborescens F.Muell. [Illegitimate]
Buchanania attopeuensis (Pierre) Tardieu
Buchanania bancana Miq.
Buchanania decandra Blanco
Buchanania florida A.Gray [Illegitimate]
Buchanania florida Schauer
Buchanania florida var. arborescens Engl.
Buchanania florida var. arborescens Pierre
Buchanania florida var. attopeuensis Pierre
Buchanania florida var. cumingii Engl.
Buchanania florida var. dongnaiensis Pierre
Buchanania florida var. lucida (Blume) Engl.
Buchanania florida var. petiolaris (Miq.) Engl.
Buchanania glaberrima Ridl.
Buchanania intermedia Wight
Buchanania longifolia Span.
Buchanania longifolia Blume
Buchanania lucida Blume
Buchanania lucida var. laxiflora Ridl.
Buchanania lucida var. palembanica (Blume) Miq.
Buchanania monticola Kaneh. & Hatus.
Buchanania muelleri Engl.
Buchanania nabirensis Kaneh. & Hatus.
Buchanania novohibernica Lauterb.
Buchanania palembanica Blume
Buchanania papuana C.T.White
Buchanania petiolaris Miq.
Buchanania platyphylla Merrill
Buchanania polybotrya Miq.
Buchanania pseudoflorida G.Perkins
Buchanania scandens Lauterb.
Buchanania solomonensis Merr. & L.M.Perry
Buchanania subobovata Griff.
Buchanania versteeghii Merr. & L.M.Perry
Coniogeton arborescens Blume

Tree up to 40 m tall and 100 cm diameter, sometimes with small buttressed. Resin present which turns black when exposed to light and which may be irritant for people susceptible to it. Leaf stalk swollen at twig connection. The leaves are spirally alternately arranged and tend to be clustered towards the ends of the branches, smooth, leathery, elongated oblong, simple, 8-24 x 2.5-7 cm. Flowers placed in panicles at the branch tips. The flowers are very small, 3 x 1.5-2 mm, with 5-6 cream to yellowish white petals, usually five carpels present in each flower, but only one fertile. The edible fruits are globular, small (1 cm long), reddish to purple-black. Seeds about 6-9 x 6-8 mm, compressed globular.

Found in mangrove swamps, peat swamps, coastal and creekbank thickets, kerangas, but also in forest, including forest on limestone and on open grasslands. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 500 m. Can tolerate drought, salt spray and can grow on infertile, waterlogged soils. This species produces large fruit crops in favourable seasons and the fruits are very popular with birds and other forest animals. Torresian Imperial Pigeons (Ducula spilorrhoa) appear to be very appreciative of the fruits of this species.

The light timber is used for light constructions, interior works, veneer, plywood, furnitures and novelties; Pulpwood; Firewood and charcoal. Fruits eaten raw by aboriginals in Australia, where it is also used medicinally.

India and Andaman Islands to southern China, Taiwan, Southeast Asia to northern Australia and western Pacific.

Local names
Australia: Lightwood, Little Gooseberry tree, Satinwood, Sparrow's Mango.
Brunei: Jam Jam; Green plum, Kepala Tundang, Rengas Ayam.
Indonesia: Popohan.
Java: Getasan.
Kalimantan: Rawa-Rawa Pipit.
Peninsular Malaysia: Otak Udang, Otak Udang Umpul.
Philippines: An-An, Balinghasai, Malamangga.
Sabah: Beluno Beluno.
Sarawak: Rengas Laut.
Thailand: Chaa Muang, Luaet Khwai, Mamuang Khee Kratai.
Vietnam: Caay Muwng Ri.

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