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Muntingia calabura L.

 

Muntingia calabura L.

Family

Elaeocarpaceae

Synonyms

None

Vernacular Names

Malaysia

Kerukup siam.

English Capulin, Jamaica cherry.
Indonesia Ccerri, kersen, talok (Java).
Philippines Datiles.
Cambodia Krâkhôb barang.
Laos

Lhoom sômz, takhôb.

Thailand

Takhop farang.

Vietnam

Trúng cá, mât sâm.

Geographical Distributions

Muntingia calabura is a neotropical species that although not cultivated has become pantropical. It was introduced into the Philippines in the late 19th Century, but its incredible capacity for establishment 'under foot' quickly has made it one of the most common roadside trees in Southeast Asia.

Description

M. calabura is a small, evergreen tree that can reach 3-12 m tall and grows and flowers continuously on fan-like branches. The mainline branches become erect after leaf fall and so in turn, contribute to the formation of the trunk (Troll's architectural model). The branches are horizontal, pendent towards the tip and soft-hairy.

The leaves are simple, ovate-lance-shaped, measuring 4-14 cm x 1-4 cm and with prominent asymmetry of the leaf blade base. The leaf margin is serrate with the lower leaf surface greyish hairy.

The flowers are in 1-3(-5)-flowered supra-axillary fascicles, hermaphrodite and pentamerous with white petals. The number of stamens increases from 10-25 in the first emerging flowers in the fascicle to more than 100 in the last. The development of the superior ovary declines in the same order, so that from the third and later, flowers do not normally set fruit.

The fruit is a dull-red berry, 15 mm in diametre and with several thousand tiny seeds in the soft pulp.

Ecology / Cultivation

M. calabura is a typical pioneer species, colonising disturbed sites in tropical lowlands which can sustain continuous growth. It thrives at elevations up to 1000 m. In Southeast Asia, it is one of the most common roadside trees, especially in the drier parts such as in eastern Java. It establishes itself in trodden yards and along shop fronts where no other tree takes root. The preferred pH is 5.5-6.5; salt tolerance is poor.

Line Drawing / Photograph

M.calabura

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References

    1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No.2: Edible fruits and nuts.