Nonda

Parinari nonda Benth.

Nonda is a small to medium-sized tree attaining a height of 15 m and a diameter of 0.6 m. The stem is not buttressed at the base.

Nonda occurs in Northern Territory from the Daly River region east to Arnhem Land, throughout most of Cape York Peninsula in north Queensland to as far south as the Walsh River. There are a limited number of records from the Kimberley region in Western Australia, which include the Drysdale River, Prince Regent River and Beagle Bay areas. It also occurs in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

Soils are variable but generally of low fertility and range from sands, red clay loams to river alluvium. They are derived from a range of substrates that include sandstone and laterite.

Nonda is a conspicuous component of the open eucalypt forests and woodlands but it also occurs on the edges of monsoon forests and rainforests. Common associates in open forests are Darwin stringybark (Eucalyptus tetrodonta), Melville Island bloodwood (E. nesophila), long-fruited bloodwood (E. polycarpa) and variable-barked bloodwood (E. dichromophloia).

The fruit of nonda is edible and was once a popular food of Aboriginal people. The taste of the fruit has been described as like a mealy potato but somewhat astringent. L. Leichhardt, the Australian explorer, in his overland expedition to Port Essington reported tasting this fruit and finding it agreeable to eat.

Related species: The genus Parinari comprises about 50 species with pantropic distributions (Prance 1989). There are no other species of Parinari in Australia. Chrysobalanaceae is sometimes considered a tribe or subfamily in Rosaceae.

Publication: Fl. Austral. 2, 426 (1864). Type: as text 'N. Australia. From the Upper Lind to Van Diemen's river, Gulf of Carpentaria, Leichhardt; Gilbert river, F. Mueller. Queensland. Cape York, McGill; Albany Island, F. Mueller.'

Names: Botanical—Parinari, from the native name of a species in Guiana; nonda, from the Aboriginal name for a tree with a similar appearance. Common—as above.

Bark: Usually pale, somewhat fissured, flaky, tessellated to somewhat corky. The outer blaze is pink to red.

Leaves: Cotyledons—cryptocotylar. Seedling—opposite for first 2-3 pairs then alternate, sessile, ovate-elliptical to cordate, 3-5 X 2-3 cm, entire, hairy, shiny green above with scattered hairs along the veins, white tomentose beneath, discolorous; nervation reticulate, slightly visible above but prominent beneath. Each leaf has two stipules, broad at base and slightly stem-clasping, tapering to a fine point at the apex, about 0.5-1 cm long. Adult—spirally arranged; petioles 0.20.7 cm long; ovate, 3.5-7.5 X 1.5-5 cm, white or at least pale on the underside, 11-20 pairs of lateral veins, stipulate.

Inflorescences: Terminal and in the upper axils, paniculate. Flowers 5-merous, brownish yellow. Calyx, cup-shaped, lobes 0.1-0.15 cm long. Petals spathulate, approximately or slightly exceeding the calyx lobes. Fertile stamens 8, unequal in

length, approximating the petals. Ovary attached to the side of the calyx tube, 2-celled with 1 ovule in each cell. Style about 0.2 cm long, arising at the base of the ovary. Stigma terminal, slightly expanded. Flowers Jul.-Oct.

Fruits: Each a drupe, brownish, globose, ovoid or ellipsoid, often flattened laterally, up to 3 cm long, rather bumpy and irregular in outline, covered by a brown scurfy layer. Pericarp mealy in texture.

Wood: Little is known about the wood of this species but it has been used as sawn timber to a limited extent on Cape York Peninsula.

Climate: Altitudinal range: near sea level to 500 m; Hottest/ coldest month: 30-37°C/15-22°C; Frost incidence: low; Rainfall: 750-1650 mm per year, summer max.

Distinctive features: Small tree of open forests, leaves white or very pale on the underside, stipulate, ovary attached to the side of the calyx tube, fruit brownish, surface scurfy, rather irregular, pericarp mealy.

Chrysobalanaceae

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