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fruit

maturing plant

Natural populations

Macaranga tanarius occurs north of Lismore in New South Wales, along the entire coast of Queensland, coastal Darwin and Arnhem Land and into south-east Asia. As a pioneer plant, it grows in or near coastal rainforest, often common in secondary regrowth on areas of cleared rainforest [14, 43].

Flowering and seeds

Macaranga tanarius typically flowers in spring, summer and fruits mature in summer. The fruit is fleshy and is eaten and dispersed by birds [90]. Fresh seeds sown with adhering pulp have a germination rate of about 50% in 24-72 days; the seed behaviour is orthodox [111], although viability is reputed to be poor in ambient conditions [117].

Cultivation and uses

In Australia, the tree is of mainly ornamental use in landscaping for its large rounded leaves [109]. In south-east Asia, the tree has many uses including for food additive, fuel, fibre, glue, and tannin for toughening fishing nets [111].

Key descriptors:
Climate parameters
Mean annual rainfall: 950-4000 mm
Rainfall distribution pattern: summer
Mean annual temperature: 17-27 °C
Mean max. temperature of the hottest month: 26-34 °C
Mean min. temperature of the coldest month: 6-22 °C
Frosts (approx. no. per year): frost free or more or less frost free
Altitude: 0-800 metres
Tolerance of extremes in climate
Drought: known to be drought sensitive
Wind: tolerates salt-laden coastal winds
Soil factors
Texture: clay loam, loam, sandy loam, sandy clay loam or sand
Soil pH reaction: acidic (less than 6.5)or neutral (6.5-7.5)
Soil depth: moderate to deep (30-100 cm or greater)
Drainage: well-drained
Salinity: slightly to moderately saline
Tolerance of adverse soils
Extremes in texture: sand
Salinity: moderate (-8 dS m-1) (?)
Soil waterlogging tolerance: nil - sensitive to waterlogged soils
Biological traits under cultivation
Habit: shrub or small tree less than 5 m tall
Longevity: short-lived less than 15 years
Growth rate: fast
Coppicing ability: vigorous, responds to pruning, pollarding (?)
Root system: shallow and spreading or forms root suckers (?)
Erosion control potential: excellent for sandy sites
Windbreak potential: tolerates salty coastal winds
Shade tolerance: grows best in full sunlight
Potentially undesirable attributes
Weediness: high potential based on its biology

References

[14] Stanley TD, Ross EM (1983 to 1995) Plants of South-East Queensland. Volumes 1-3, Queensland Government, Brisbane.

[43] National Herbarium of New South Wales (2008) PlantNET - Flora of New South Wales. (Online resource) http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/floraonline.htm (Accessed: February 2008).

[90] Flynn S, Turner RM, Dickie JB (2004) Seed Information Database (Release 7.0, October 2006). (Online database) http://www.kew.org/data/sid/ (Accessed: July 2007).

[109] Brisbane Rainforest Action & Information Network (2007) Brisbane Rainforest Plants database. (Online resource) http://www.brisrain.webcentral.com.au/01_cms/details.asp?ID=9 (Accessed: February 2008).

[111] World Agroforestry Centre (2008) Agroforestry database. (Online resource) http://www.worldagroforestry.org/Sites/TreeDBS/aft.asp (Accessed: February 2008)

[117] NSW coastal plant profile (Online resource) http://www.lhccrems.nsw.gov.au/CPR/CPR/plant_profiles/m.tanarius.htm (Accessed: February 2008).

Internet links

PlantNet NSW Flora Online – species description & distribution: http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Macaranga~tanarius

Rainforest species database: http://www.brisrain.webcentral.com.au/old_site/database/Macar_tanarius.htm

NSW coastal plant profile: http://www.lhccrems.nsw.gov.au/CPR/CPR/plant_profiles/m.tanarius.htm

Agroforestry Tree Database: http://www.worldagroforestrycentre.org/sea/Products/AFDbases/AF/asp/SpeciesInfo.asp?SpID=1092

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macaranga

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