MALANDA FALLS VISITOR CENTRE What to look out for in

What to look out for in December
Black Bean Tree Gunyjuu
Castanospermum australe
The Black Bean or Moreton Bay Chestnut is a common large tree in the park, and is
flowering now! Look out for carpets of large orange-red and yellow pea-shaped flowers.
It is native to Vanuatu, New Caledonia and the east coast of Queensland and NSW. The
botanical name means southern chestnut (Australia is the southern land), but there is only
one species in the genus Castanospermum – it is that different from other legumes.
The Black Bean has a pea-type large wooden pod to 20cm long with 1-5 large seeds. The
seeds are toxic, but after pounding, leaching in water and then roasting they were an
important food for the rainforest aboriginal people (Gunyjuu in Ngadjan; Mirrany in Jirrbal
and Ma:Mu). The toxic alkaloids are being investigated for their anti-HIV and anti-cancer
Fresh broken twigs smell like cucumber, but the leaves are also toxic … having killed
The flowers attract birds, bats and butterflies. There are stories that the nectar sometimes
intoxicates lorikeets.
The Black Bean produces a good fine-grained timber. Care needs
to be taken though, as the sawdust can
cause severe irritation of the nose and