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Golden Penda

Xanthostemon chrysanthus


Xanthostemon chrysanthus, commonly known as "golden penda", is a rainforest tree in the Myrtaceae family and is endemic to northeastern Queensland. This family also includes eucalypts, paperbarks and bottlebrushes. It grows up to 15 metres tall in the wild, although cultivated plants are usually much smaller. All native plants fill a niche, and golden pendas are important food trees. They attract bees, nectar-eating birds, butterflies, and a variety of other insects. Just in the 15-20 minutes I spent at this location, half a dozen rainbow lorikeets (Trichoglossus haematodus) were feeding on the blooms, and then the noisy miners (Manorina melanocephala) arrived and spoiled the party. Lots of squabbling and I think the lorikeets won, but there's definitely enough to go around for all.


Occurs in Cape York Peninsula and northeast QLD. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 600 m. Usually grows as a rheophyte along creeks and watercourses in open forest and rain forest. In the McIlwraith Ranges, this species is found in well developed upland rain forest away from watercourses. This spotting, however, was in a friend's yard. There are much larger tree in Brisbane, but these are no-less beautiful or impressive. Golden penda is a very popular species for parks and street trees in Brisbane and other urban centres. Being native to a warm and humid climate, they don't fare well in colder climes.


Every year it's the same thing - I am amazed at how many golden pendas there are in Brisbane, and they hide in broad daylight. So inconspicuous for most of the year as just a normal leafy "evergreen" tree, they suddenly explode into life in a mass of brilliant yellow flowers, and they seem to be everywhere. It is beautiful to watch these trees transform Brisbane each year. It is currently April and they are blooming en masse, and flowering is usually in Summer and Autumn, but flowering can occur at any time of the year.

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Neil Ross
Neil Ross a year ago

Thanks, Single D. It's a beautiful species.

Single D
Single D a year ago

Beautiful photo

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 2 years ago

Thanks, Tukup. These trees do hide in broad daylight. It's not until they're in bloom that they are really noticed. In Australia, the various wattle species are the same. All of a sudden, the cities and bush are ablaze with yellow. I hope you find an ID for your trees.

Tukup 2 years ago

Great shot and notes Neil. I was tramping through the jungle yesterday and came on a group of plants bearing yellow flowers. Probably only 4 or 5 large plants, but the bright yellow, like yours, was impressive. Haven't figured out what mine were yet. Thanks for sharing these beautiful shots.

Neil Ross
Spotted by
Neil Ross

Brisbane, QLD, Australia

Spotted on Apr 28, 2019
Submitted on Apr 28, 2019

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