Acronychia oblongifolia

White Aspen, Yellow Wood

Family: Rutaceae

A tree growing to 25 m or so tall, from near Gympie in central-eastern Queensland, south through the extent of coastal New South Wales to a few rainforest communities in eastern Victoria. Its natural habitat is rainforest and rainforest margins.

The trunk is dark brown and generally smooth, sometimes with fine wrinkles, fissures or pustules.

The Acronychia genus has species with leaves appearing compound (3-foliolate) or simple (1-foliolate). In this species it is the latter where compound leaves been reduced over time to having 1 leaflet, hence leaves appear simple.

Leaves are leathery, dark green, aromatic with oil dots numerous and obvious, arranged in opposite pairs, to 120 mm long and to 50 mm wide, obovate to elliptic in shape.

When a Rutaceae species has opposite leaves, it tends to have 4-merous flowers (parts in 4s) and that is the case here.

The flowers are creamy-white and produced in leaf axils and create much interest. They are arranged in small groups to 60 mm long. Each flower is about 10 mm wide with four sepals are and four petals, and eight stamens that alternate in length (usually 4 are longer with a shorter stamen following each longer one in the whorl, making an interesting symmetrical pattern).

Flowering occurs from February to June.

The fruit is a fleshy, white, yellow or purplish drupe to about 10 mm wide, spherical in shape, that matures from May to December.  The fruit is four-lobed and has tufts of hairs on the end.

In the garden

Acronychia oblongifolia is fairly readily cultivated in a well-drained soil with a sunny aspect, and benefits from extra water and fertiliser. It is somewhat frost tender when young.

The fruit is consumed by the green catbird, regent bowerbird, satin bowerbird, pied currawong, topknot pigeon, white-headed pigeon, blue-faced honeyeater and wompoo fruit dove. Hence, it may serve as a great bird atttactant.

This plant is broadly related to Citrus trees and has somewhat similar overall aspects in terms of general flower and foliage appearance and shape, as well as, as well as culinary uses. It is used as a bush food. There is a tip on the internet that the fruit can be added to water bottles for a nice flavour addition (see references).


Propagation can be done from washed seed but germination may take many months. Cuttings could be tried as for other Rutaceae members.

Other information

Lives in habitats not prone to fire. Likely detrimentally impacted by fire in terms of species survival.

Acronychia is a genus of 44 species, occurring in Australia, India, Malesia and the Pacific Islands. Australia has 19 species, 16 endemic, occurring only in the eastern mainland states. NSW currently has 10 species. 

Acronychia – from the Greek akros (άκρος) “at the farthest point, end or edge” (outermost, topmost, or highest) and –nychia (νύχια) “fingernails” or “claws”, referring to the reflexed claw/fingernail-like appearance of the flower petal-tips.

oblongifolia – Latin – oblong and folium “leaf”, referring to the oblong-shape of the leaves

This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild. 

NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Acronychia oblongifolia profile page        https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Acronychia~oblongifolia

Wikipedia – Acronychia oblongifolia profile page                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acronychia_oblongifolia

Tucker Bush – Acronychia oblongifolia profile page                                        https://tuckerbush.com.au/white-aspen-acronychia-oblongifolia/

Brisbane Rainforest Action and Information Network                http://www.brisrain.org.au/01_cms/details.asp?ID=479

Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2001). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 4th edition. New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia.

By Jeff Howes. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke.