Commersonia bartramia (L.) Merr. Interpr. Rumph. Herb. Amboin. 362 (1917)

Named after J. Bartram [1699-1777], an American botanist.

Commersonia echinata J.R.Forst. & G.Forst. [Illegitimate]
Commersonia echinata var. bancroftii F.M.Bailey
Commersonia echinata var. javana Gagnep.
Commersonia javensis G.Don
Muntingia bartramia L.
Restiaria echinata Kuntze
Ricinus odoratus Noronha [Invalid]

Small tree or shrub up to 20 m tall, twigs with numerous white lenticels. Leaves ovate to broad-ovate, lamina mostly 6–15 cm long, 4–10 cm wide, ± entire to toothed with 4–6 teeth per cm, lower surface tomentose, yellowish to greenish grey; petiole usually 10–20 mm long. Staminodes pubescent, central lobe tomentose, shorter than petals, lateral lobes small, filiform, tomentose, attached to stamen filaments. Capsule 10–20 mm diam., bristles stellate-pubescent, 3–8 mm long.

Secondary forest pioneer species, usually in open scrub and grasslands on sunny places, below 1300 m elevation.

Planted as an ornamental in Australia. The fiber obtained from the inner bark of this species is used to make cordage throughout its range. Australian Aborigines used the cordage for the construction of fish and kangaroo nets, while in Indonesia and the Philippines it is used for the construction of ropes, and in Sumatra it is woven into mats. In the Bismarck Archipelago the fiber is used to make headbands and women’s girdles. As the trees grow quickly, the timber they produce is not strong but it is considered a good source for firewood.

Southeast Asia to Papua New Guinea, Australia and West Pacific.

Common names
Australia: Brown kurrajong, Scrub Christmas tree.