Cupaniopsis flagelliformis is a tree species native to the subtropical rainforests of Australia. It has densely hairy young growth, with the branchlets covered in a rust-coloured pubescence. The leaves are 20-30 cm long and have 10-16 serrated leaflets. Similar to the fruit, the inflorescence is also quite striking. Long, drooping panicles hang from the tree, with each peduncle (stem) bearing numerous sessile flowers. These flowers have a silky calyx that form a whorl around the 2.5mm long pink petals.
Once pollinated, the flowers give way to the unusual fruit shown today. Like the flowers, the fruit are sessile. They are obovoid to ellipsoid in shape and 15-22mm long. Each pinkish-brown or yellow-orange fruit has 3-6 grooves and is covered in soft hairs. The seeds are nearly completely enclosed in an orange aril (a fleshy appendage formed from the attachment point of the seed). The place where the dark-coloured seeds peek out of the cup-like aril are the “eyes” in today’s photo.
This species is commonly known as brown tuckeroo, a name that I find fitting for the funny fruit face in the image. I could not find the origin of the word tuckeroo, but it seems to refer to any of the 11 species of Cupaniopsis endemic to Australia. There are two recognized varieties of Cupaniopsis flagelliformis; the variety flagelliformis has subglobose fruit, thin, pink-brown valves, and ~60cm long secondary peduncles. Cupaniopsis flagelliformis var. australis has ellipsoidal to obovoid fruit, thick yellow valves and ~17cm long secondary peduncles.