Ribbonwood / Idiot Fruit
Idiot fruit or Ribbonwood, Idiospermum australiense
The 'Idiot fruit' or 'Ribbonwood' can be a fairly big tree, the trunk covered in many small bumps. It drops a large brown baseball-like fruit that is frequently seen split into segments (pictured). Although it was first discovered and named over 100 years ago, it was ‘lost’ and not rediscovered until 1971 when several cattle died from eating the seeds on a property in the Daintree. After it's rediscovery a botanist re-classified the tree into its very own one species family, the Idiospermaceae, although some scientists believe it is a southern hemisphere member of the existing family Calycanthaceae. In recent years the plant has received quite a bit of research attention conducted by Cairns JCU on aspects such as the reproductive biology, and how the two isolated populations north and south of Cairns are evolving differently.