Cunonia L.

Cunonia × koghicola H.C.Hopkins, J.Bradford & Pillon

This species is accepted, and its native range is SE. New Caledonia.


Pillon, Y., Hopkins, H.C.F. & Bradford, J.C. (2008). Two new species of Cunonia (Cunoniaceae) from New Caledonia. Kew Bulletin 63: 419.

Cunonia koghicola is known from three localities, Mt Koghi, Vallée de Thy and Mt Dzumac, the last one being doubtful, and even if accepted, the plant is possibly extinct there. Forest near the Auberge at Mt Koghi is currently treated as a nature reserve by the owner but has no legal protection. There is a recreational park at the entrance to the forest and some individuals of C. koghicola actually mark its limit. Forested land below the Auberge, down the road towards Route 1, is in demand for housing, especially since it is close to the rapidly expanding city of Nouméa. The number of collections of C. koghicola from this locality may reflect the fact that individuals occur at the forest edge close to the Auberge, but the population of C. koghicola may only consist of about ten mature individuals plus saplings. The northern part of the Vallée de Thy is a Provincial Park, but we do not know if the population of C. koghicola is inside the boundary or not. Mt Dzumac has no legal protection. Besides potential threats from development, fire is also a threat, particularly where the forest is bordered by scrub and habitation, as on Mt Koghi, in Vallée de Thy and along the lower part of the road to Mt Dzumac. With an extent of occurrence much less than 5000 km2, an area of occupancy much less than 500 km2 and the current threat to its habitat, C. koghicola is provisionally assigned a status of endangered (EN). Further field work would be needed, especially in Vallée de Thy, to determine whether this species might be more appropriately treated as critically endangered (CR) due to small population sizes. EN B1ab(i,ii,iii,v)+2ab(i,ii,iii,v).
This species is restricted to south-west Grande Terre
Occurring in quite tall wet forest and at the forest edge, at 130 – 500 m, on non-ultramafic substrates.
Morphology General Habit
Tree to 20 (30?) m; bark brown, fairly rough
Morphology Leaves
Simple leaves (with no articulation between petiole and blade) few or absent, usually just below inflorescence; petiole to 1.5 cm long, not winged; blade to 7.8 × 4 cm but usually smaller Leaves opposite, simple or mostly imparipinnate, with 1 – 2 (– 3) pairs of lateral leaflets; occasional leaves irregular, with one or two lateral leaflets partially to completely fused to terminal leaflet Compound leaves: petiole 1.5 – 2.5 (– 3) cm long, not winged; rachis segments 1 – 1.5 cm long, with minute wings extending c. 1 mm on either side; petiole and rachis with minute pale hairs, glabrescent; lateral leaflets sessile, elliptic, largest per leaf to 3.8 (– 5.2) × 1.5 (– 2.3) cm, slightly unequal at the base, apex broadly acute; terminal leaflet elliptic, ovate or trullate, substantially larger than largest lateral leaflets [(1.5 –) 1.7 – 2.3 × as long], mostly 4.5 – 6 (– 9) × 2 – 3.2 (– 5.5) cm, base cuneate and sometimes attenuate into rachis, apex obtuse or broadly acute; leaflet blades flat, subcoriaceous; intervenium of both surfaces glabrous or sometimes a few minute hairs visible with a binocular (c. × 25), minute hairs often persisting on midrib and sometimes on secondary veins; leaflet margin with numerous small, forward-pointing teeth; secondary veins in terminal leaflets 11 – 14 (– 20) on either side of midrib; venation drying flat or minutely prominent on both surfaces; secondary veins semicraspedodromous, branching towards the margin, each branch ending at the sinus of a tooth
Morphology Leaves Stipules
Stipules spatulate, basal part terete, to 5 mm long, distal part widely or very widely ovate, to 7 × 7 mm, apex rounded, with abaxial surface silky-hairy, densely so in proximal part, generally glabrescent towards the margins, the hairs grey or white, adpressed, to 0.5 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers: sepals 5, triangular, c. 1.5 × 1 mm, apex obtuse, abaxial surface sparsely and minutely hairy; petals 5, white, ovate-elliptic, c. 2.5 × 1.5 mm, apex rounded, lamina thin, glabrous; stamens 10, filaments to 4 mm long, anthers 0.5 mm long; disc with indentations corresponding to bases of filaments; ovary ovoid-conical, c. 1 mm long, minutely hairy; styles 2, each 2.5 – 3 mm long, glabrous
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Pedicel
Pedicels 1 – 2 mm long, minutely hairy
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Capsules c. 5 × 2.5 mm, valves very sparsely hairy or glabrescent, bases of styles persisting at least in immature capsules
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence consisting either of one raceme on either side of apical bud or of bidents (a pair of racemes on a common peduncle, with a bud in the angle between their bases) and then commonly with one bident on either side of main shoot axis, the bud between the racemes dormant during flowering but starting to develop during fruiting (inflorescence Type 3 of Hoogland et al-1997) or sometimes 1 – 3 bidents at most distal node of a shoot Inflorescence axis to 9 cm long, including peduncle of 0.5 – 1.3 cm, covered with minute, pale, adpressed hairs, to 0.3 mm long; flowers to c. 70 per raceme
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts
Floral bracts linear, to 1 mm long, minutely hairy, fugaceous
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seeds ± flattened, spindle-shaped in outline, to 3 mm long, minutely winged around edges.
Morphology Stem
Young stems 2 – 3 mm diameter, with minute, pale, adpressed hairs; young woody stems with prominent pale lenticels, glabrescent
Discussion. Cunonia koghicola is a striking plant, mature individuals being quite large trees with dark green, shiny leaves and erect racemes of white flowers projecting beyond the foliage. Most of the leaves are trifoliolate or imparipinnate with the terminal leaflet much larger than the laterals, although a few simple leaves (and small trifoliolate leaves) are often present just below the inflorescence. Another feature of C. koghicola is the occasional presence of irregular leaves, where one or two lateral leaflets are partly to completely fused with the terminal leaflet, often making the latter asymmetrical. Where a lateral leaflet is completely fused with the terminal one, the outline of the resulting blade sometimes bulges at this point and/or the secondary veins are unequally spaced and their angle to the midrib is irregular, the basal ones being at a more acute angle than more distal ones Mt Koghi has been relatively well investigated locality due to its accessibility and proximity to Nouméa. At least two species are restricted to this mountain: Lasiochlamys trichostemona (Guillaumin) Sleumer (Salicaceae or Flacourtiaceae, Lescot 1980) and Burretiokentia koghiensis Pintaud & Hodel (Arecaceae, Pintaud & Hodel 1998). An unusual feature of the forests on Mt Koghi and in the Vallée de Thy is the complex mosaic formed by the geological substrate, which includes peridotite, serpentinite, sedimentary rocks and, in the Vallée de Thy, granite (Paris 1981). These forests therefore provide interfaces where species that grow on different substrates, such as Cunonia balansae and C. austrocaledonica, can be found in close proximity and may hybridise. Such areas may be important in the evolution of some groups and may therefore have a high conservation value. This species is so named because it grows on Mt Koghi, just north of Nouméa, the slopes and peaks of which are exceptionally rich in species of Cunoniaceae.
According to the label associated with Bradford et al. 1104 and 1150, the flower buds are green and the flowers have green sepals, white petals and filaments, and red to maroon anthers. The disc when fresh is green and produces abundant sweet nectar, the ovary is green and the styles are white. The scent is faint and not very sweet. Young fruits are green. On the label of Hoogland & Jérémie 12903 it is reported that the flowers (old?) attracted millipedes (“myriapodes” or “iules” in French). Flowers have been collected from September to December and mature fruits in April.
New Caledonia, [Province Sud], Mt Koghi, near Hermitage, 500 m, 19 Jan. 1968, fr., MacKee 18310 (holotypus P! P00479443; isotypi K!, NOU!; also BR, L, Z fide Hoogland, unpublished notes at P).

Native to:

New Caledonia

Cunonia × koghicola H.C.Hopkins, J.Bradford & Pillon appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status Has image?
Mackee, H.S. [18310], New Caledonia K000739873 isotype Yes

First published in Kew Bull. 63: 423 (2008 publ. 2009)

Accepted by

  • Hopkins, H.C.F., Pillon, Y. & Hoogland, R.D. (2014). Flore de la Nouvelle-Calédonie et Dépendances 26: 1-455. Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris.


Kew Bulletin

  • Barnes, R. W. & Rozefelds, A. C. (2000). Comparative morphology of Anodopetalum (Cunoniaceae). Austral. Syst. Bot. 13: 267 – 282.
  • Bradford, J. C. & Jaffré, T. (2004). Plantspecies microendemism and conservation of montane maquis in New Caledonia: twonew species of Pancheria (Cunoniaceae) from the Roche Ouaïème. Biodivers.Conserv. 13: 2253 – 2273.
  • Bradford, J. C. (2002). Molecularphylogenetics and morphological evolution in Cunonieae (Cunoniaceae). Ann.Missouri Bot. Gard. 89: 491 – 503.
  • Bradford, J. C., Hopkins, H. C. F. & Barnes,R. W. (2004). Cunoniaceae. In: K. Kubitzki (ed.), The families and genera ofvascular plants, pp. 91 – 111. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.
  • Coates Palgrave, K. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2003). Trees of Southern Africa. Struik publishers, Cape Town.
  • Dawson, J. W. (1992). Myrtaceae — Leptospermoideae. Flore de la Nouvelle-Calédonie et Dépendances vol. 18. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris.
  • Guillaumin, A. (1964). Résultats Scientifiques de la Mission Franco-Suisse de Botanique en Nouvelle-Calédonie (1950 – 1952). sér. 3, Mém. Mus. Natl. Hist. Nat. B, Bot. 15: 1 – 93.
  • Hoogland, R. D., Jérémie, J. & Hopkins, H. C. F. (1997). Le genre Cunonia (Cunoniaceae) en Nouvelle-Calédonie. Description de cinq espèces nouvelles. Adansonia 19: 7 – 19.
  • Jaffré, T., Bouchet, P., Veillon, J.-M. (1998). Threatened plants of New Caledonia: is the system of protected areas adequate? Biodivers. Conserv. 7: 109 – 135.
  • Lescot, M. (1980). Flacourtiacées. Flore de la Nouvelle-Calédonie et Dépendances 9: 3 – 134. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris.
  • Paris, J. -P. (1981). Géologie de la Nouvelle-Calédonie: un essai de synthèse. Editions du B.R.G.M., Orléans.
  • Pintaud, J. -C. & Hodel, D. R. (1998). Three new species of Burretiokentia. Principes. 42: 152 – 155, 160 – 166.
  • Robertson, A. & Sydes, C. (2006). Sorbus pseudomeinichii, a new endemic Sorbus (Rosaceae) microspecies from Arran, Scotland. Watsonia 26: 9 – 14.
  • Stace, C. A. (1997). New Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • Virot, R. (1967).Protéacées. Flore de la Nouvelle-Calédonie et Dépendances, vol. 2. MuséumNational d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris.
  • Virot, R. (1975).Epacridacées. Flore de la Nouvelle-Calédonie et Dépendances, vol. 6. MuséumNational d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris.

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