Back To Articles

Mountain Silkpod

Parsonsia brownii
Parsonsia straminea

Apocynaceae
Mountain Silkpod
Common Silkpod

Common

Silkpod are tall, vigorous climbers, widespread in the rainforest and moist eucalypt forest. The leaves are opposite, pointed, glossy above and paler underneath. Older leaves are thick and often leathery.

The two species are not easy to tell apart but the leaves of the Mountain Silkpod have lateral veins which are slightly closer together and meet the midvein at a smaller angle than those on the leaves of the Common Silkpod. The shape of the leaves is very variable in both species.

The young plants of the Common Silkpod are easily recognized, because they cling closely to tree trunks or rocks, climbing straight up rather than twining. These young leaves are purple underneath, lobed at the base, and much smaller than those of the adult vine. Young Mountain Silkpod, on the other hand, twine around bushes and their leaves, although much narrower than those of the adult, are pale green underneath.

The small, yellowish-brown flowers occur in loose clusters over several months in spring and summer. The fruit is a long cylindrical pod that ripens and splits open to release many seeds, each with a tuft of silky hairs (thus the common name Silkpod). Both species can be propagated from seed, which takes 1-3 months to germinate.

Distribution: P.brownii - Tas, Vic, Northeast NSW. P.straminea - Mt Dromedary (NSW) to North Qld.