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Commersonia dasyphylla facts for kids

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Commersonia dasyphylla
Rulingia dasyphylla crop.jpg
A young plant cultivated in Sydney.
Scientific classification
Genus:
Commersonia
Species:
dasyphylla
Synonyms
  • Buettneria inodora J.Gay ex DC.
  • Byttneria dasyphylla (Andrews) J.Gay (as "Buttneria")
  • Byttneria pannosa (R.Br.) DC.
  • Commersonia dasyphylla Andrews
  • Commersonia diphylla Andrews orth. var.
  • Commersonia diphylla B.D.Jacks., nom. inval.
  • Commersonia fraseri Sieber ex Steetz
  • Lasiopetalum tomentosum Cels ex J.Gay, nom. inval.
  • Restiaria dasyphylla (Andrews) Kuntze
  • Rulingia dasyphylla (Andrews) Sweet
  • Rulingia pannosa R.Br.

Commersonia dasyphylla, commonly known as kerrawang, is a species of shrub of the family Malvaceae native to eastern Australia. It was initially described by Henry Cranke Andrews as Commersonia dasyphylla in 1810, and then placed in the genus Rulingia by Robert Sweet in 1826 where it remained until its original name was restored in 2011. The genus name commemorates 18th-century French naturalist Philibert Commerson, while the species name is derived from Ancient Greek dasys "hairy" and phyllon "leaf", and refers to cottonlike hairs covering the leaves.

Description

The kerrawang grows as a shrub reaching 1 to 4 metres (3–13 ft) in height. The dark green leaves are prominently wrinkled, and measure 3–7 cm (1–3 in) in length by 0.5–3 cm (0.2-1.2 in) wide. They are lanceolate to obovate in shape with dentate or lobed margins. The stems are covered in fine hairs. The small flowers appear from September to January and are white or rarely pale pink and measure 0.8 cm (0.3 in) in diameter, and are followed by hairy brown capsules.

Range and ecology

The range is across eastern Australia from southeastern Queensland through New South Wales and into eastern Victoria, the preferred habitat is gullies in forested areas. Flies are the likely most common pollinators, and native bees, beetles, and diurnal moths may do so as well. The kerrawang is killed by bushfire and regenerates from seed.

In Victoria, the species is listed as "threatened" under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act and "vulnerable" on the Department of Sustainability and Environment's Advisory List of Rare Or Threatened Plants in Victoria.

Uses

Its fibres were used for basket making by the local Cadigal people of Sydney. The kerrawang, an Australian shrub, should not be confused with the kurrajong, an Australian tree whose bark is used to make twine.

First cultivated in England in 1819 as Rulingia pannosa, the kerrawang is a fast-growing and ornamental shrub. It prefers semishaded areas with fair drainage and mildly acid soil. It seeds readily, and can be easily propagated from seed or cuttings.

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