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Articles

Melochia corchorifolia

Melochia corchorifolia

Family

Sterculiaceae

Synonyms

Melochia concatenata L.

Vernacular Names

Malaysia Lemak ketam, lemak kepiting, bayam rosa (Peninsular).
English Chocolate-weed, redweed.
Indonesia Orang-aring (General), jarring (Sundanese), gendiran (Javanese).
Philippines Bankalanan (Iloko), kalingan (Panay Bisaya).
Thailand Khaang paak put (Chiang Mai), sa aeng bai mon (Chai Nat), seng lek (Ang Thong).
Vietnam Tr[uws]ng cua, v[ai]i gi[aas]y

Geographical Distributions

M. corchorifolia is a weed throughout the tropics and subtropics, including South-East Asia. It originates from the Old World tropics and has been introduced in the Americas.

Description

This is a perennial herb or partially woody plant up to 130 cm tall, erect or spreading and often widely branched with tough bark.

Leaves are spirally-arranged, simple, triangular or broadly egg-shaped to lance-shaped. The lower leaves are often slightly 3-lobed while its margin is crenate-serrate, 3-veined or 5-veined from the base. Leaflet is hairy on the veins, with green or purplish tinge. The stalk is sparsely hairy to slightly long weak hairs. The stipules are about 5 mm long, present on young twigs.

Inflorescence is arising from the axils or terminal head-like determinate inflorescence and rarely less compact. They are subtended by 1-4 leaves with their stipules forming a kind of ring of many-flowered stalk. Flowers are with stalk bearing 3-4 hairy long soft hairs bracteoles at apex. Sepals are bell-shaped and about 2.5 mm long, hairy with teeth much shorter than tube. The petals are reverse egg-shaped-spoon-shaped, 4-7 mm long, lilac or white with a yellow spot at the base and withers rapidly. Their stamens are opposite the petals while filaments are connate to midway or more. The anthers are 2-lobed and broad. The ovary is superior, 5-celled, with dense, long soft hairs. Each cell with 1-2 ovules, styles 5 and united at base.

Fruit is small spherical capsule size 3.5-5 mm in diametre that is green, whitish or pink to purplish-black. They are dorsal suture but valves easily dehiscing along the septa of the ovary. Each cell is 1-2-seeded.

Seeds are small and wingless. The endosperm is abundant. Embryo is straight while cotyledons are flattened. Their seedling germinates above the ground.

Ecology / Cultivation

M. corchorifolia is a common weed in many regions. It thrives in sunny or slightly shaded, usually humid localities, at watersides, in fields, waste places and open forest, up to 700 m altitude in Java. Although it is adapted to xerophytic conditions, M. corchorifolia has retained its ability to grow in mesophytic and hydrophytic habitats. In the Philippines, it is reported as one of the dominant weeds in highland rice fields, together with Echinochloa colona (L.) Link. In Thailand and Indonesia it is also a weed in lowland rice, as well as in soy bean.

Line Drawing / Photograph

BOT00075

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References

  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 12(1): Medicinal and poisonous plants 1.