Scientific name

Litsea leefeana, Litsea glutinosa, Litsea reticulata, Litsea bindoniana, Neolitsea australiensis, Cinnamonium baileyanum. Family: Lauraceae

Other names

bollygum; bolly beech; brown beech; brown bollywood; soft bollygum; sycamore


  • Medium to tall tree, grows to 25–40m high.
  • Stem diameter of 1–2m.
  • Trunk is not obviously buttressed.
  • Bark is brown, sometimes grey.
  • Texture is rough and sheds in roundish flakes leaving shallow depressions, giving it a rough, scaly appearance.


  • Distributed mainly throughout coastal rainforests of northern New South Wales and Queensland:
    • L. glutinosa: north of Cairns, North Queensland.
    • L. leefeana: Bellinger River, New South Wales to Endeavour River, North Queensland.
    • L. reticulata: Hawkesbury River, New South Wales to Cairns, North Queensland.



  • Heartwood varies from light cream to pale straw.
  • Doesn’t vary noticeably between sapwood and heartwood.


  • Firm, straight-grained with open vessel lines.
  • No obvious figure (pattern).



  • Historically used in general house framing, linings, mouldings and non-structural joinery, but rarely used for these purposes now.


  • Plywood.
  • Furniture.
  • Turnery.
  • Carving.
  • Picture frames.


  • Boat building (light).
  • Aircraft components.
  • Beehives.
  • Brush stocks.
  • Roller and venetian blinds
  • Boat oars.
  • Pattern making.
  • Cooperage.


  • Density at 12% moisture content; about 2.0m3 of seasoned sawn timber per tonne, when visually stress-graded according to AS 2082—2000, Timber—Hardwood—Visually stress-graded for structural purposes:
    • L. leefeana 480kg/m3
    • L. glutinosa 515kg/m3
    • L. reticulata 530kg/m3
    • L. bindoniana 515kg/m3
    • N. australiensis 675kg/m3
    • C. baileyanum 560kg/m3.
  • Strength groups
    • L. leefeana (S7) unseasoned, (SD7) seasoned.
    • L. glutinosa (S7) unseasoned, (SD7) seasoned.
    • L. reticulata S5 unseasoned, SD6 seasoned.
    • L. bindoniana (S7) unseasoned, (S7) seasoned.
    • N. australiensis (6) unseasoned, (SD6) seasoned.
    • C. baileyanum (S7) unseasoned, (SD7) seasoned.
  • Stress grades
    • L. leefeana F4, F5, F7 (unseasoned), F5, F7, F8, F11 (seasoned).
    • L. glutinosa F4, F5, F7 (unseasoned), F5, F7, F8, F11 (seasoned).
    • L. reticulata F5, F7, F8, F11 (unseasoned), F7, F8, F11, F14 (seasoned).
    • L. bindoniana F4, F5, F7 (unseasoned), F5, F7, F8, F11 (seasoned).
    • N. australiensis F4, F5, F7, F8 (unseasoned) F7, F8, F11, F14 (seasoned).
    • C. baileyanum F4, F5, F7 (unseasoned), F5, F7, F8, F11 (seasoned).
  • Joint groups
    • L. leefeana, L. glutinosa, L. reticulata, L. bindoniana, C. baileyanum J4 unseasoned, JD4 seasoned.
    • N. australiensis JD3 seasoned.
  • Shrinkage in 12% MC: L. leefeana 3.6% (tangential), 1.4% (radial); L. reticulata 5.0% (tangential); 2.0% (radial).
  • Unit shrinkage: L. leefeana 0.27% (tangential), 0.14 % (radial). L. reticulata 0.23% (tangential), 0.14% (radial).
  • Durability above-ground: L. leefeana, L. glutinosa, L. reticulata, L. bindoniana, N. australiensis Class 4 (life expectancy less than 7 years); C. baileyanum Class 3 (life expectancy 7—15 years).
  • Durability in-ground: L. leefeana, L. glutinosa, L. reticulata, L. bindoniana, N. australiensis Class 4 (life expectancy less than 5 years); C. baileyanum Class 3 (life expectancy 5—15 years).
  • Lyctine susceptibility: untreated sapwood susceptible to lyctine borer attack.
  • Termite resistance: L. leefeana, L. glutinosa, L. reticulata, L. bindoniana, N. australiensis, C. baileyanum—not resistant.
  • Preservation: sapwood readily impregnates with preservative, but penetration of heartwood is negligible using available commercial processes.
  • Seasoning: satisfactorily dries using conventional air and kiln seasoning.
  • Hardness: soft (rated 5 on a 6-class scale) to indent and work with hand tools.
  • Machining: machines, and turns well, to a smooth surface.
  • Fixing: no difficulty using standard fittings and fastenings.
  • Gluing: satisfactorily bonds using standard procedures.
  • Finishing: seasoned timber surfaces will readily accept stain, polish and paint.

Identification features

General characteristics

  • Sapwood: not significantly different from heartwood.
  • Heartwood: light cream to pale straw colour.
  • Texture: medium, straight grained.

Wood structure

  • Growth rings: generally absent.
  • Vessels: medium-size, some solitary but mostly in short radial multiples of up to 4; vessel lines distinct on dressed surfaces.
  • Parenchyma (soft tissue): absent or indistinct under a lens.
  • Rays: fine.

Other features

  • Burning splinter test: burns completely to a minute buff-grey filament.
  • Surface characteristics: dressed surfaces are highly lustrous.
  • Odour: freshly cut surfaces exhibit a faint spicy odour.

Research and resources

  • Boland, DJ, Brooker, MIH, Chippendale, GM, Hall, N, Hyland, BPM, Johnston, RD, Kleinig, DA and Turner, JD 2006, Forest trees of Australia, 5th edn, CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
  • Bootle, K 2005, Wood in Australia: Types, properties and uses, 2nd ed., McGraw-Hill, Sydney.
  • Ilic, J 1991, CSIRO atlas of hardwoods, Crawford House Press, Bathurst, Australia.
  • Queensland Government, DAF 2018, Construction timbers in Queensland: properties and specifications for satisfactory performance of construction timbers in Queensland. Class 1 and Class 10 buildings, Books 1 & 2, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Brisbane.
  • Standards Australia, 2000, AS 2082—2000: Timber—Hardwood—Visually stress-graded for structural purposes, Standards Australia International, Strathfield, NSW.