Macaranga indistincta Whitmore, Kew Bull. 29 (1974)

Latin for 'unclear'.

Pachystemon depressus var. mollis Müll.Arg.

Sub-canopy tree up to 21 m tall and 20 cm dbh. Twigs hollow, hairy, ant-inhabited. Stipules recurved, producing food bodies for ants, ca. 9 mm long. Leaves alternate, simple, 3-lobed, peltate, palmately veined, hairy below. Flowers ca. 0.5 mm diameter, greenish, placed in bundles within bracts which are part of large branched inflorescences. Fruits ca. 8 mm diameter, greenish, 3-lobed, dehiscent, horned capsules, seeds with pink-red arils.

Small tree to 15(-21) m tall with an overall rather dull green appearance; twigs 5-9 mm in diam., densely pubescent with fine erect silver-grey hairs, hollow, housing ants. Bark pale brown, smooth. Stipules ovate, 6-9 by 8-10 mm, dark brownish to purple when fresh, recurved, succulent, adaxial surface finely pubescent, producing food-bodies on abaxial surface, 2-6 pairs present on shoots. Leaves: petioles terete, 10-22 cm long, densely pubescent; blades ovate to broadly ovate, 15-32 by 14-25 cm, grey-green, shallowly tricusped to trilobed or sometimes with an additional pair of cusps at the leaf base, dissected to 1/10 to 1/5 of the leaf length or rarely more, lateral lobes narrowly acute to acuminate and spreading, central lobe broadly acute, >2-3 cm peltate, base broadly rounded,; leaf margin entire, apices acute, adaxial surface mostly glabrous or with scattered minute ferrugineus hairs along the veins, abaxial surface densely pubescent, hairs erect silvery, not glaucous; 1st degree venation palmate with 7-9 prominent veins, 2nd degree venation scalariform running into the leaf margins and protruding as narrow erect conical nectaries, 3rd and 4th degree venation densely scalariform; young leaves reddish-brown, densely pubescent. Staminate inflorescences paniculate, erect, 9-27 by 6-18 cm, scattered to evenly covered in long erect silvery hairs on the basal axis, distal axes almost glabrous, drying dark blackish brown, up to 4 axis orders, main axis flattened, first pair of secondary branches opposite with accessory branches; bracts ovate-elliptic, 4-7 by 3-4 mm, margin entire, apex acute to acuminate, glabrous, caducous; flower clusters with 15-25 flowers, spirally arranged and evenly spaced along inflorescence branches; bracteoles broadly ovate, 2-3.5 by 2.5-4 mm, cupulate and enclosing flower clusters, glabrous, margin pectinate with 6-12 short narrow and well-spaced teeth, the sinuses twice as broad as the teeth, usually the central tooth more elongated than laterals, scattered with yellow granular glands, apex rounded, adaxial surface with a dense patch of minute ferrugineus hairs at the base. Staminate flowers c. 0.75 mm long, sessile; sepals fused, splitting irregularly to c. 1/4, apex densely covered in minute red-brown hairs; stamens 1; anthers 3-locular. Pistillate inflorescences paniculate, erect, 6-15(-20) by 5-10 cm, stout, mostly glabrous distally but with scattered erect sharp-pointed silvery hairs towards base, up to 3 axis orders, secondary branches +/- opposite with accessory branches; bracts caducous, not seen. Pistillate flowers 3-4 mm long, solitary in bracteole axils; calyx urceolate, 2-2.5 mm long, apex truncate, glabrous or with very few scattered fine red-brown hairs and yellow granular glands sometimes slightly glaucous, persistent, splitting irregularly as ovary expands; ovary 4-carpellate, 2-3 mm long, with fine hairs on the sutures; styles c. 2 mm long, fused for 4/5 of the length, free and spreading at the apex, persisting to form a prominent 2-3 mm long crown at the fruit apex; stigma not dissected. Fruits subglobose, 4-6 by 7-10 mm, sessile, one discrete glandular patch on each carpel wall developing into a long slender horn-like process 4-7 mm long, covered in yellowish green, sticky exudate. Seeds 3.5-4 mm in diam., subtriangular-ovoid, black, with shallow coarse grooves and a small cruciform scar, encased in a fleshy bright pink aril. [from Flora Malesiana]

Mainly in disturbed mixed dipterocarp forests up to 1000 m altitude. Often along rivers and roads, but also on hillsides. On sandy soils.