General Description:

The genus Dillenia contains about 60 species in Asia, of which one, Dillenia alata, reaches tropical Australia.

The red beech is a small tree usually about 6 to 10 metres high, although sometimes smaller. It derives its common name from its beautiful flaky papery trunk, initially copper/pink and becoming maroon with age. The large (10-25 cm by 8-12 cm) ovate leaves are an attractive glossy, dark green colour, while new leaves are reddish brown.

The flowers are bright yellow and 6-9 cm in diameter. They are similar to those of Hibbertia (a member of the same family) and, although they last for one day, they are replaced daily for one to two months in late spring and summer. The open fruit reveal bright red valves and black seeds. These are also an attractive feature of the plant and they contrast well with the dense green foliage.

Dillenia alata grows abundantly in many of the swampy depressions around Cairns. The bark, flowers and leaves all make for an attractive small tree for the subtropical or tropical garden. Sandy soils are preferred and, once established, the species can tolerate periods of dryness. Cultivated plants have tolerated frosts in at least one southern Queensland garden.

Sadly, one is much more likely to find the Indian tree Dillenia indica (Elephant apple) in Cairns nurseries rather than the local species. The situation is similar in Darwin, where an exotic rather than the local species is sold.

Propagation is best from fresh seed. Tip cuttings are reported to strike reasonably under mist.

 

Plant profile image

Dillenia alata
Photo: Garry Sankowsky

 

Plant profile image

The attractive fruit of red beech.
Photo: Garry Sankowsky

Other Native Plant Profiles

Search Tips

By default the search engine tries to locate pages which have exact matches for all of the words entered in your search query. If that fails, it then tries to locate pages which contain any words in your search query. If that happens a short message is displayed at the top of the search results indicating this has been done. In addition, there are several ways to modify the default search behavior.  Note, searches are case insensitive.

Phrase Search
The search engine supports three types of phrase search.

  • To match an exact phrase, use quotes around the phrase. Example: "banksia integrifolia"
  • To match a near (within a couple of words) phrase, use square brackets [around the words]. Example: [banksia integrifolia]
  • To match a far (within several words) phrase, use braces { around the words }. Example: {banksia integrifolia}

+ and - qualifiers
If you prepend a word with + that word is required to be on the page. If you prepend a word with - that word is required to not be on the page. Example: +always -never

* Wildcard
If a query word ends with a * all words on a page which start the same way as that query word will match. Example: gift*

? Wildcard
If a query word contains a ? any character will match that position. Example: b?g

Boolean Search
You can use the following boolean operators in your search: AND, OR, NOT. These operators MUST be in capital letters. Example: (contact AND us) OR (about AND us)

All of these techniques can be combined: +alway* -ne??r*

Billardiera heterophylla

View Plant Profile

Acacia longifolia

View Plant Profile

Acacia baileyana

View Plant Profile

Acacia podalyriifolia

View Plant Profile

Acacia pycnantha

View Plant Profile

Eucalyptus globulus

View Plant Profile

Leptospermum laevigatum

View Plant Profile

Melaleuca quinquenervia

View Plant Profile

Pittosporum undulatum

View Plant Profile

Schefflera actinophylla

View Plant Profile

Syzygium paniculatum (variegated form)

View Plant Profile

 

Chrysanthemoides monilifera
var. monilifera

Senecio madagascariensis

Opuntia stricta