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Parinari nonda (Family Chrysobalanaceae)

Nonda, Nonda-tree


It occurs in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Australia. In Queensland it is fairly common on the lowlands of Cape York Peninsula, and there are isolated occurrences in the Northern Territory and the Kimberley region of Western Australia. The overall latitudinal range is 6-19o S and it is found from near sea level to 1300 m. (QLD, NT, WA)


Usually a small tree 6-15 m tall but occasionally reaches 35 m in height; on very exposed, unsuitable sites it may only form a small shrub. The trunk is slightly tapering and cylindrical. Its branchlets are covered with dense, long hairs. Adult leaves are oval in shape, 3.5-7.7 cm long by 1.5-5 cm wide, leathery, with a glossy green upper surface, a pale lower surface and a prominent midrib. The leaf margins bear scattered, tiny, round glands or protruding small black tissue dots. The short leaf stalk has two small black protruding glands. The brownish yellow flowers are in clusters 6-10 cm long. The fruit is brown and fleshy and contains two seeds in hairy cells. It flowers from July to November and fruits are present from July to December. Seeds germinate well when freshly removed from a depulped fruit but lose their viability quickly in uncontrolled conditions.

Ecology/Way of Life:

Most of the distribution is in the hot humid zone but there is an extension to the warm and hot sub-humid zones. The area is frost-free. The mean annual rainfall is 1150-1725 mm with a strong summer maximum. The topography varies from plateaux and tablelands of sandstone, granite or laterite capped, to alluvial plains. Soils are mainly acid and neutral red and yellow earths and shallow sandy soils, usually of low fertility. In Australia, this species is a conspicuous component of eucalypt and melaleuca woodland and open-woodland, and eucalypt open-forest. It is usually an understorey species beneath eucalypts such as Eucalyptus nesophila, E. tetrodonta and E. papuana. Elsewhere it occurs on the edge of rainforests.

Interaction with Humans/Threats:

The wood is heavy, hard, yellow-red or red with an interlocked grain. It is difficult to saw especially when seasoned but has good wearing and weathering properties. It has been used for structural building material, joinery, sleepers, posts and piles. The wood splits easily and is a good fuelwood. The plum-like fruit was often eaten by Australian Aboriginal people. It has rarely been planted but has been used for rehabilitation of bauxite mining sites in north Queensland.

Other Comments:

Parinari nonda was described in 1864 by Ferdinand J.H. von Mueller, Government Botanist of Victoria. The generic name comes from the name for a similar species in Guyana, South America; the species name, nonda, comes from an Aboriginal name for a tree with similar appearance.

Further Reading:

Boland, D.J., Brooker, M.I.H., Chippendale, G.M., Hall, N., Hyland, B.P.M., Kleinig, D.A., Johnston, R.D. and Turner, J.D. 1984. Forest trees of Australia. 4th ed. Nelson and CSIRO, Melbourne. 687p.

Doran, J.C. and Turnbull, J.W. (eds.) 1997. Australian trees and shrubs; species for land rehabilitation and farm planting in the tropics. ACIAR Monograph no. 24. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, Canberra. 384p.

Keating, W.G. and Bolza, E. 1982. Characteristics, properties and uses of timbers. South-east Asia, northern Australia and the Pacific.Vol.1. Inkarta Press, Melbourne. 362p.

Wheeler, J.R., Rye, B.L., Koch, B.L. and Wilson, A.J.G. 1992. Flora of the Kimberley region. Department of Conservation and Land Management, Perth. 1327p.

Topics: Timber Climatic zones Soils Vegetation types Firewood Aboriginal resources Germination


Text & map from Australian Trees and Shrubs, courtesy Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research; text edited by J. Turnbull; photo courtesy D. Kleinig.

Sponsored by:

David Kleinig/ACIAR


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