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The red bean or Miva mahogany is a rainforest tree in the mahogany family, Meliaceae.[1] Dysoxylum mollissimum subsp. molle occurs in tropical, sub-tropical and littoral rainforests in eastern Australia, as far southwards as north-eastern New South Wales. Also occurs in Malesia and the south-western Pacific Islands.[2] In Australia it is distributed from the Bellinger River in New South Wales in the south, to the wet tropics of north-eastern Queensland.[1][2] The specific epithet mollissimum is from the Latin, meaning "very soft", describing the soft hairy leaflets. A signposted red bean tree may be seen near the car park of Victoria Park Nature Reserve in north-eastern New South Wales.

Description

It is a large and impressive tree, up to 35 metres (115 ft) tall and a trunk diameter of 120 cm (47 in). It is usually buttressed or flanged at the base. The trunk is scaly and rough, grey or brown in colour. Freshly cut bark has an onion type scent.[3]

Leaves

Leaflets are usually opposite on the stem, without serrations, and distinctly asymmetrical at the leaf base. Leaflets are 6 to 15 cm (2.4 to 5.9 in) long and 2 to 5 cm (0.79 to 1.97 in) wide,[1] and are mid green above, paler below, and sometimes softly hairy under the leaf. True leaves are 30 to 60 cm (12 to 24 in) long, pinnate. Leaf stem swollen where joining the larger branch. Leaf venation is evident above and below, but raised and more noticeable below. Net veins easily seen. Veins creamy green, contrasting with the darker leaf colour.

Flowers and fruit

White flowers form on panicles from January to July. The fruit is a fawnish brown capsule, around 2 cm (0.79 in) in diameter. There is one reddish brown seed in each of the one to five cells. The fruit ripens between November and March. The fruit is bird attracting.[4] Fresh seed is advised for regeneration.

Timber

The tree produces a well regarded mahogany timber, suited to cabinet work, carving and boat building. It is Reddish brown and easily worked,[3] Sapwood is creamy pink.[5] and not resistant to termites.[4] There is concern of inhaling wood dust from this tree.[6]

References

  1. ^ a b c Taylor, M. J.; Harden, G. J. (2002). "Dysoxylum mollissimum subsp. molle – New South Wales Flora Online". PlantNET – The Plant Information Network System. 2.0. Sydney, Australia: The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust. Retrieved 13 Mar 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Hyland, B. P. M.; Whiffin, T.; Zich, F. A.; et al. (Dec 2010). "Factsheet – Dysoxylum mollissimum subsp. molle". Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants. Edition 6.1, online version [RFK 6.1]. Cairns, Australia: Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), through its Division of Plant Industry; the Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research; the Australian Tropical Herbarium, James Cook University. Retrieved 29 Jan 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Floyd, A.G., Rainforest Trees of Mainland South-eastern Australia, Inkata Press 2008, ISBN 978-0-9589436-7-3 page 220
  4. ^ a b http://www.cedarworks.com.au/red_bean.html
  5. ^ http://www.dpi.qld.gov.au/26_5445.htm
  6. ^ http://www.ubeaut.com.au/badwood.htm