Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Toona ciliata

The Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney - November

Common name

red cedar, Australian red cedar

Scientific name Toona ciliata M. Roem
Family  Meliaceae

Genus: Toona - after Toon, Indian name for one species.

Species: ciliata - fringed with hairs

Distribution Throughout southern Asia from Afghanistan to Papua, from Cape York to Milton in south-east NSW.
Native habitat Rainforests and subtropical open forests.
Description 20-35 m tall x 10-25 m wide. Often buttressed. Bark grey and scaly. Leaves 10-50 cm long. Leaflets 5-20, 4-15 cm x 2-5 cm. Ovate, elliptical or lanceolate, often falcate, bright green, glabrous, veins pale or sometimes reddish. Deciduous. Flowers 0.4-0.6 cm across, white or cream, fragrant. Capsules 1-2 cm x 0.6-1 cm, ellipsoid, woody, brown, splitting when ripe to produce numerous winged seeds.
Flowering Flowering September-December.

Location in Garden

Click here for map of garden beds & grid.


Charles Fraser (first superintendent of these Botanic Gardens: 1821-1831) collected plants of this species near Parramatta in 1822 and Toona ciliata has most probably been grown on this site since then.

Highly prized as a timber tree and harvested to such an extent that the trees became very rare. The timber is valued for quality furniture and house fittings.

Toona ciliata is a majestic tree but because of its great size is really only suitable for planting in large properties or parks. Young plants are best established in shady positions as those in the open have their terminal buds destroyed by the red cedar tip moth.

Tolerant of frost and will grow in most well-drained soils. Responds to light fertilizer applications, mulch and water in dry periods.

Commercial plantations of this tree are unsuccessful because of the red cedar tip moth. Growing the tree in temperate regions in shady locations is best as the tip moth is not as prevalent in these areas.

Not known to be weedy.

Currently available from the Growing Friends.  

Toona ciliata