Soulamea amara Lamk

Soulamea amara Lamk





Vernacular Names

Indonesia Buwa hati, kayu sulamu (Moluccas), sulamu pohon (Ternate).
Papua New Guinea Dschiri pangpang (Tami, Morobe Province).

Geographical Distributions

Soulamea amara is a coastal species widespread from Borneo eastward to Micronesia and Melanesia, but not found in New Caledonia. In Malesia S. amara is recorded for Borneo, the Moluccas and New Guinea only.


S. amara is a shrub or small tree and up to measure about 5(-15) m tall. The young shoots and buds are rusty hairy.

The leaves are simple, spirally arranged, crowded at the apex of the branchlets, leaving large scars, blade obovate-oblong in shape, with a size of measuring 10-35 cm x 4-12 cm, wedge-shaped base, obtuse apex, sometimes mucronate, entire margin, hairy, prominent below midrib while the lateral veins are parallel end in an intramarginal looped vein. The petiole is measuring 3-8 cm long. Stipules are absent.

The measuring of 3-12 cm long inflorescence is an axillary erect raceme. The flowers are bisexual, 3(-5)-merous and small. The measuring of 0.5-1 mm long sepals are hairy, erect and appressed. The petals are concave, spreading, finally reflexed and accrescent to measure about 2.5 mm x 1 mm. The stamens are twice as many as petals and up to measuring 2 mm long. The intrastaminal disk is present. The ovary is superior, consists of 2(-3) carpels, not more than 2 fertile, connate except at the top and with sessile stigma.

The fruit is an obcordate in shape samara, up to measre about 2.5 cm x 2 cm and with hard corky pericarp. The measuring of 0.5-1 cm across seed is round, with thin testa while the cotyledons are plano-convex.

Ecology / Cultivation

S. amara is a typical constituent of the Barringtonia formation, which occurs specifically on sandy beaches and behind coral reefs. It is sometimes found as a scattered treelet more inland. Under the parent plants, seedlings may be found in great profusion. The fruits seem well adapted to dispersal by seawater.

Line Drawing / Photograph



    1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 12 (2): Medicinal and poisonous plants 2.