Articles

Memecylon edule Roxb.

Memecylon edule Roxb.

Family

Melastomataceae

Synonyms

Memecylon globiferum Wallich.

Vernacular Names

Malaysia Delek air, delek bangas, kuku baning (Peninsular).
Thailand

Miat (North-eastern), phlong dam (South-western), phlong mueat (Central).

Myanmar Me-byaung.
Laos 'Muat ê, 'sa long khong.

Geographical Distributions

Memecylon edule is widespread from India and Sri Lanka to Burma (Myanmar), Indo-China, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, Java and Borneo.

Description

Memecylon edule is a shrub or small to medium-sized tree that can reach up to 25(-30) m tall. The bole is sometimes twisted, measures up to 100(-200) cm in diametre, often fluted and infrequently with buttresses. The bark is extremely thin. The surface is very shallowly closely fissured or cracked, sometimes smooth and slightly scaly. It is grey or greyish-brown. The inner bark is thin, yellow or pinkish to orange or brown. The branches are cylindrical or flattened, grooved, angled or winged.

The leaves are arranged opposite, simple, entire, hairless, with 1 main vein which is straight or with intramarginal looping veins which are exstipulate.

The 4-merous flowers are in an axillary or occasionally terminal cyme, sometimes resembling a panicle or reduced to glomerules or umbels. The sepal is cup-to funnel-shaped and with a truncate to shortly-lobed margin. The petals are reflexed at the anthesis and caducous after fertilization. They are white, pink, blue or purple. There are 8 equal stamens. The anthers are curved like a walking stick to crescent-shaped and opening with a vertical slit. The ovary is inferior and unites with the sepal tube. It is unilocular with 2-20 ovules and with 1 style.

The fruit is a 1(-2)-seeded berry, purplish or black and turning red when ripens, crowned by the persistent sepal and smooth or with 8 vertical grooves. Seedling is with epigeal germination. The cotyledons are emergent and leafy. The hypocotyl is elongated and all leaves are arranged opposite.

Ecology / Cultivation

Memecylon species are comparatively common, sometimes occurring gregariously in the lower part of the canopy of primary lowlands to montane forests, up to 1800 m altitude. They are also found in freshwater and peat-swamp forests and kerangas. Some, e.g. Memecylon edule, prefer more open forests or localities near the seashore.

Line Drawing / Photograph

Memecylon_edule

References

  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 5(3): Timber trees: Lesser-known timbers.