Characteristics of Canary Wood Tree (Nauclea orientalis) in the Wild

Nauclea orientalis
Canary wood tree is a tree species in the family Rubiaceae, native to Southeast Asia and Australia. Internationally, the tree is known by many names such as Leichhardt tree, Cheesewood, and Canes cheesewood.

Canary wood tree was first described as the genus Cephalanthus by Carl Linnaeus in the first edition of Species Plantarum, then transferred to the genus Nauclea in the second edition in 1762.

This is one of the large trees planted as ornamental trees because it produces beautiful white flowers. In Australia, the fruit is eaten by residents even though it tastes very bitter. Whereas in the Philippines, the bark is used as an ingredient of traditional medicine, the fish poison, and coloring clothes.


Characteristics of Canary Wood Leaf

Nauclea orientalis Leaf

The leaves are smooth, ovoid, about 8-30 cm long, and 5-20 cm wide. The upper surface is shiny green, and the underside is yellowish.


Characteristics of Canary Wood Flower

Nauclea orientalis Flower

The flowers are fragrant, small, tubular, yellow or orange, and have white stamens. The flower blooms from September-January in Australia, and August-October in the Philippines.


Characteristics of Canary Wood Fruit

Nauclea orientalis Fruit
Source: Cumming

The fruit is round in size the size of a golf ball or 4-5 cm in diameter with many thorns surrounding it. When it is young the fruit is green, and when ripe it turns brown. Each Canary wood tree contains one seed each.


Characteristics of Canary Wood Tree

Nauclea orientalis Tree

Canary wood trees can grow to reach a height of 30 meters in the wild. The bark is grayish to reddish-brown and has rough bark.

The tree is found to grow at an altitude of 0-500 m above sea level. Its distribution includes North Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Myanmar, and Thailand. Canary wood tree is also the only species of Nauclea that grows in Australia.


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