Idiospermum australiense (Diels) S.T.Blake

Idiot fruit tree, Green dinosaur



Taxonomy & Nomenclature



Conservation Status

Last record: 1902

Rediscovered in 1971


Rediscovered twice. Including once after cattle were fatally poisoned from ingesting the seeds.



Queensland, Australia


Biology & Ecology










Original scientific description:

Blake, S.T. (1972). Idiospermum (Idiospermaceae), a new genus and family for Calycanthus australiensis. Contributions from the Queensland Herbarium 12: 1-37.


Other references:

Brophy, J.J. & Goldsack, R.J. (1992). The leaf essential oil of Idiospermum australiense (Diels) S.T.Blake. Flavour and Fragrance Journal 7(2): 79–80.

Cooper, W. & Cooper, W.T. (1994). Fruits of the Rain Forest. (GEO Productions: Chatswood).

Cooper, W. & Cooper, W.T. (2004). Fruits of the Australian Tropical Rainforest. (Nokomis Editions: Melbourne).

Duke, R.K., Allan, R.D., Johnson, G.A.R., Mewett, K.N., Mitrovic, A.D., Duke, C.C. & Hambley, T.W. (1995). Idiospermuline, a trimeric pyrrolidinoindoline alkaloid from the seed of Idiospermum australiense. Journal of Natural Products 58(8): 1200-1208.

Everist, S.L. (1981). Poisonous Plants of Australia, revised edn. (Angus and Robertson: Sydney).

Foreman, D.B. (1987). Notes on the wood anatomy of Idiospermum australiense (Idiospermaceae). Muelleria 6(5): 329-333.

Gordon, V. & Reddell, P. (2004). Occurrence of cyanogenic glycosides in seeds and seedlings of Idiospermum australiense, a primitive rainforest angiosperm from tropical Australia, pp. 157–161, in Acamovic, T., Stewart, C.S. & Pennycott, T.W. (eds), Poisonous Plants and Related Toxins. (CABI Publishing: Wallingford, Oxon, U.K.).

Hyland, B.P.M., Whiffin, T., Zich, F.A., Duffy, S.M., Gray, B., Elick, R., Venter, F. & Christophel, D.C. (2010). Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants. Trees, Shrubs, Vines, Herbs, Grasses, Sedges, Palms, Pandans & Epiphytes. Version 6. (Ed. West, J.G.) (CSIRO Publishing: Melbourne). Available at [accessed November 2018]

Jessup, L.W. (2007). Idiospermaceae, pp. 103–105, in Wilson, A.J.G. (ed.), Flora of Australia, Volume 2 Winteraceae to Platanaceae. (ABRS/CSIRO Publishing: Melbourne).

L.W. Jessup (2019) Idiospermum australiense. In: Flora of Australia. Australian Biological Resources Study, Department of the Environment and Energy, Canberra. [Date Accessed: 14 January 2020]

Lamont, B. (1974). Idiospermum, a living primitive angiosperm. Search 5: 535–536.

McKenzie, R. (2012). Australia’s Poisonous Plants, Fungi and Cyanobacteria. (CSIRO Publishing: Collingwood, Victoria).

Williams, K.A.W. (1980). Native Plants of Queensland 2nd edn, 1: 162.

Wilson, C.L. (1976). Floral anatomy of Idiospermum australiense (Idiospermaceae). American Journal of Botany 63(7): 987–996.

Wilson, C.L. (1979). Idiospermum australiense (Idiospermaceae) - aspects of vegetative anatomy. American Journal of Botany 66(3): 280–289.

Worboys, S.J. (2003). Polycarpelly in Idiospermum australiense (Calycanthaceae). Austrobaileya 6(3): 553–556.

Worboys, S.J. & Jackes, B.R. (2005). Pollination processes in Idiospermum australiense (Calycanthaceae), an arborescent basal angiosperm of Australia's tropical rain forests. Plant Systematics and Evolution 251(2-4): 107–117.


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