Arthrophyllum diversifolium

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Arthrophyllum diversifolium


Small tree, up to 14 m, young parts with rufous tomentum. Leaves clustered at the ends of the branches, imparipinnate or bipinnate (rarely tripinnate) with leaflets at the insertion of the lateral rachides, multijugate, 150 by 45 cm (wider in bipinnate leaves); Inflorescence a cluster of specialized leafy branches forming a terminal crown which abscisses after fruiting; Petals 5, c. 2 mm long. Stamens 5, anthers curved. Ovary turbinate, often inconspicuous at anthesis; Fruit ellipsoidal, c. 9 by 7 mm;


Asia-Tropical: Borneo present; Jawa (Jawa present); Malaya (Peninsular Malaysia present); Sulawesi (Sulawesi present); Sumatera (Sumatera present)
Malesia: Sumatra, Malay Peninsula, Java, Borneo, Celebes.


Concoctions of the root and bark are reported to have medicinal properties, including a remedy for syphilis, and the plant has stupifying and poisonous properties.


The very widespread A diversifolium is variable in many characters, and may comprise a number of geographic subspecies, but no basis for this is apparent at present. Most individuals have the lower leaves simply imparipinnate, whereas others have bipinnate, or rarely tripinnate, leaves. The flowers and inflorescences of these forms appear to be identical, though rapid changes in the umbellules after flowering produce a deceptively distinctive appearance in specimens at different stages of development. Field experience over the whole range of the species will be required to understand this interesting leaf-polymorphism. In treating all forms as one species I am partly influenced by the fact that most authors who have been familiar with the plants in Java (where both forms occur) have regarded the complex as a single species (the fact that some authors have recognized the variant from Mt Salak as a distinct species does not affect the problem of leaf-polymorphism).
Apart from the strikingly different leaf forms just discussed, certain local variants may eventually be shown to justify specific rank. A form growing on Mt Salak (near Bogor) has often been regarded as distinct (see, for example, , and ). Indeed this form is the basis of the name A. diversifolium. I retain this name in preference to the other two names published simultaneously by Blume because it has been most consistently adopted since it was first used in this comprehensive sense by Clarke, l.c. On the evidence available I do not consider the Salak plants any more distinctive than many other local variants.
It might be considered that 5. A. engganoense is also no more than another such variant, but its facies is so marked that specific rank appears justified.
It is possible that Ridley was correct in distinguishing A. conges turn, but the material is not good and appears inadequate to confirm specific status.
Five collections from Brunei and a neighbouring district of Sarawak are all very alike and sufficiently distinct from both A. diversifolium and 7. A. crassum to suggest that they represent a separate taxon, but for the present they are tentatively retained as a form of A. diversifolium.
Similarly, the two collections described by Ridley as A. rubiginosum and A. rufosepalum are based on collections which are not altogether typical of A. diversifolium, but which come closest to that species. In the absence of more supporting material, it is advisable not to retain them as species. The first of these names (A. rubiginosum) has been widely used in identifications of Bornean specimens, but the specimens concerned are either typical A. diversifolium or belong to the distinctive 7. A. crassum.
Specimens from Mt Kinabalu described by Ridley as A. havilandii have bipinnate leaves, and appear to conform well with A. diversifolium. This form was again collected on. Mt Kinabalu by Clemens and is also known from Sarawak.
The smooth bark is whitish to greyish brown with pustulate lenticels; the wood is cream, with a colourless aromatic exudate. The flowers are yellowish with a sickly sweet scent. Seedlings have simple and trifoliolate leaves.


Miq. - in Fl. Ind. Bat. 1856: 767
Clarke - in Fl. Br. Ind. 1879: 733
Back. & Bakh.f. - in Fl. Java. 1965: 169
Z. & M. - in Ann. Mus. Bot. Lugd.-Bat. 1863: 27
Bl. - in Atlas. 1916: f. 675 & 676
Miq. - in Fl. Ind. Bat. 1856: t. 14
DC. - in Prod. 1830: 266
Koord. - in Exk. Fl. Java. 1912: 717
Philipson - in Gard. Bull. Sing. 1977: f. 15
Back. & Bakh.f. - in Fl. Java. 1965: 169
Jungh. & de Vriese - in Ann. Sc. Nat. Paris. 1846: 117
Merr., En. Born. 1921: 457
Stone - in Gard. Bull. Sing. 1977: 136
DC. - in Prod. 1830: 266
Bl., Sum. 1861: 340
Ridl. - in Fl. Mal. Pen. 1922: 885
Ridl. - in Fl. Mal. Pen. 1922: 887
Stone - in Gard. Bull. Sing. 1977: f. 2
K. & V. - in Bijdr. 1900: 46
Stone - in Gard. Bull. Sing. 1977: 135
DC. - in Prod. 1830: 266
Miq. - in Fl. Ind. Bat. 1856: 768