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Harpullia pendula - fruiting tree.jpg
Harpullia pendula:
fruits, seeds and foliage (above), habit (below)
S tulipwood.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Sapindaceae
Subfamily: Dodonaeoideae
Genus: Harpullia
Type species
Harpullia cupanioides

See text

Harpullia is a genus of about 27 species of small to medium-sized rainforest trees from the family Sapindaceae. They have a wide distribution ranging from India eastwards through Malesia, Papuasia and Australasia to the Pacific Islands. They grow naturally usually in or on the margins of rainforests or associated vegetation.

The major centre of diversity, of about twenty species, occurs throughout New Guinea including its surrounding islands and region.

Australia harbours another centre of smaller diversity, of about eight species, growing naturally from northeastern New South Wales through eastern Queensland to Cape York Peninsula and coastal Northern Territory. Of the eight Harpullia species which grow naturally Australia six occur only (endemic) in Australia. They have the common name tulipwoods and were prized for their dark coloured timber. The one most commonly known to Australian horticulture is Harpullia pendula which is widely planted as a street tree along the east coast. H. frutescens is a small shrub with horticultural potential.

Naming, descriptive studies and classifications

European science formally published the name and description of this genus and its H. cupanioides type specimen from India, in 1824, authored by Scottish botanist William Roxburgh. The genus name, Harpullia, derives from "Harpulli, "the vernacular name at Chittagong".

Recently in 2011 Japanese–American botanist Wayne Takeuchi formally published the name and description of H. mabberleyana, the "first member of the genus to be discovered in New Guinea since 1940".

In 2003 Dutch botanists R. M. Buijsen, Peter C. van Welzen and R. W. J. M. van der Ham published a morphological phylogenetics analysis and biogeography study of the whole genus. In 1995 Buijsen published a leaf anatomy study.

In 1994, 1985 and 1982 Dutch botanists Pieter W. Leenhouts and M. Vente published the treatment in Flora Malesiana, a natural species groups classification attempt and a taxonomic revision, respectively.

In 1985 and 1981 Australian botanist Sally T. Reynolds published updated names, known records and descriptions of the eight Australian species, in the Flora of Australia (series) and her scientific article, respectively.

In 1985 J. Mueller published a pollen anatomy and evolution study of the genus.

Also numerous studies of various Harpullia species' chemical constituents, often the saponins, have been published.


This listing was sourced from the Australian Plant Name Index and Australian Plant Census, published peer reviewed scientific journal articles, Flora Malesiana, the Census of Vascular Plants of Papua New Guinea, the Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants information system, Fruits of the Australian Tropical Rainforest, the Flora of NSW online, the Flora of Australia (series), and the Checklist of the vascular indigenous Flora of New Caledonia.:

H. arborea fruits
H. frutescens young foliage
H. hillii fruits and foliage
  • Harpullia alata F.Muell. – SE. Qld to NE. NSW endemic, Australia
  • Harpullia arborea (Blanco) Radlk., syn.: H. pedicellaris Radlk.Sri Lanka, India, Assam, Thailand, S. Vietnam, through Malesia incl. New Guinea, NE. Australia, Pacific Islands incl. Fiji, Vanuatu, Samoa, Tonga
  • Harpullia austro-caledonica Baill.New Caledonia endemic
  • Harpullia camptoneura Radlk. – NE. New Guinea
  • Harpullia carrii Leenh. – Papua New Guinea
  • Harpullia cauliflora K.Schum. & Laut. – New Guinea
  • Harpullia crustacea Radlk. – E. New Guinea
  • Harpullia cupanioides Roxb., syn.: H. thanatophora Blume – S. China, Assam, Andaman Islands, Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand, Indo-China, throughout Malesia incl. New Guinea, NT Australia
  • Harpullia frutescens F.M.Bailey – NE. Qld endemic, Australia
  • Harpullia giganteacapsula Vente – E. New Guinea
  • Harpullia hillii F.Muell. – E. central Qld to NE. NSW endemic, Australia
  • Harpullia hirsuta Radlk. – SW. New Guinea
  • Harpullia largifolia Radlk. – New Guinea
  • Harpullia leichhardtii Benth. – coastal NT endemic, Australia
  • Harpullia leptococca Radlk. – SE. New Guinea
  • Harpullia longipetala Leenh. – E. New Guinea
  • Harpullia mabberleyana W.N.Takeuchi – New Guinea
  • Harpullia myrmecophila Merr. & L.M.Perry – NW. New Guinea
  • Harpullia oococca Radlk. – New Guinea
  • Harpullia peekeliana Melch. – New Ireland (New Guinea)
  • Harpullia pendula Planch. ex F.Muell. – NE. Qld through E. Qld to NE. NSW Australia
  • Harpullia petiolaris Radlk.Borneo, Moluccas, New Guinea
  • Harpullia ramiflora Radlk., syn.: H. aeruginosa Radlk.Philippines, Moluccas, New Guinea, Cape York Peninsula Australia
  • Harpullia rhachiptera Radlk. – New Guinea
  • Harpullia rhyticarpa C.T.White & W.D.Francis – NE. Qld endemic, Australia
  • Harpullia solomonensis VenteSolomon Islands, Bismarck Archipelago
  • Harpullia vaga Merr. & L.M.Perry – Solomon Islands, Malesia incl. New Guinea
Formerly included here
  • Harpullia zanguebarica (J.Kirk.) Radlk.  ⇒  Majidea zanguebarica J.Kirk. ex Oliv. – E. Africa
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