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Castanospermum australe A.Cunn. ex Mudie

Family Name: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Common Name: Moreton Bay Chestnut, Black Bean, Australian Chestnut
Full Sun Moderate Water Bird-Attracting Plant Butterfly-Attracting Plant Ornamental Flowers Tree


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Growth Form Tree
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic


Native Distribution Tropical Australia, New Caledonia, Vanuatu
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Large slow-growing tree, usually reaches up to 8 - 20 m, and sometimes 40 m in its natural habitat.
Crown Has a rounded and dense canopy, with a spread of about 5 - 8 m wide.
Trunk Bark is grey to brown and surface has small raised spots, girth size can reach up to 1.2 m wide.
Foliage Dark green leaves, imparipinnate and alternate arrangement, measuring about 20 - 35 cm long, each leaf consist of about 8 - 17 oval leaflets in alternate arrangement, each leaflet about 8 - 17 cm long and 3 - 6 cm wide.
Flowers Orange-red bell-shaped flowers borne on a raceme inflorescence up to 15 cm long, each flower is about 4 - 5 cm long, calyx is yellow and bell-shaped and 5-lobed, 8 - 10 yellow stamens present, ovary on a stalk about 1.5 - 2 cm long, style about 1 - 2 cm long.
Fruits Fruit is a cylindrical pod, large and woody, measuring about 15 - 25 cm long and 4 - 5 cm wide, contains 3 - 5 brown seeds.
Others - Plant Morphology Leaves and seeds are toxic to livestock.
Habitat Endemic to coastal rainforests and beaches in Australia, can also be found in dry riverine rainforests.
Etymology Genus Castanospermum is from Greek words "kastanon and sperma" (sperma meaning seed) and refers to the shape of the seed. Species australe means from the South.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Seeds)
Medicinal ( Used to treat post-prandial hyperglycaemia in diabetic patients.)
Timber & Products ( Wood can used as fencing material and as a source of fuel.)
Agriculture - Forestry ( Can be planted to protect against erosion on riverbanks and catchment areas.)

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Fruits
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils
Landscape Uses Parks & Gardens
Usage Hazard - Cons Aggressive Roots

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Bird Attracting, Butterfly Food Plant, Bat Food
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Propagation Method Seed


Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.0 (Tree - Intermediate Canopy)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Orange, Red
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Individual Flower Shape Campaulate / Bell-shaped
Inflorescence Type Raceme

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Fruit Classification Simple Fruit

Image Repository



Master ID 1498
Species ID 2791
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 08 December 2022.