Michelia champaca L.

Michelia champaca L.




Michelia pubinervia Blume.

Vernacular Names

Malaysia Chempaka, chempaka merah (Peninsular), champaka (Sabah)
English Orange champaca, golden champaca
Indonesia Cempaka kuning (general), cempaka (Javanese), campa (Sumatra)
Philippines Champaka, sampaka (Tagalog), champaka-laag (Sulu)
Burma (Myanmar) Laran, mawk-sam-lung, sagah
Laos Champa
Thailand Champa (general), champa-khao, champapa (peninsular)
Vietnam Ng[oj]c lan, hoa sunam
French Champac

Geographical Distributions

M. champaca probably originated in India, where it is still planted in the grounds of Hindu and Jain temples, and is distributed from India to south-western China, Indo-China, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Java and the Lesser Sunda Islands. It is now commonly cultivated throughout the tropics.


This is a huge forest tree, up to 50 m tall and 1.8 m in trunk diametre, with hairless twigs.

Leaves are spirally-arranged with stipules up to 3(-6.5) cm long, united to the hairy stalk for at least one third of their length. The stalk is 1-4 cm long, hairy, bearing a long scale-like scar. The blade is ovate-Iance-shaped to oblong-Iance-shaped size 10-30 cm x 4-10 cm. The base is rounded to triangular-at­tenuate while apex is with acumen, 1-2.5 cm long. It is hairy on its underside, especially on the midrib and veins. Brachyblast is 0.5-2.5 cm long, with 2(-3) nodes and densely hairy. The hairy stalk is 0-2 cm long. The bracts are enclosing the flower cluster, hairy, covering the spindle-like, 3-4 cm long flower buds.

Flowers are fragrant, light yellow when young, turning dark orange in maturity. The segment of floral leaves are (12-)15(-20), in several inconspicuous whorls, reverse egg-shaped size 2-4.5 cm long, thin and semi-transparent. The stamens are 6-8 mm long and its connective appendage is 1 mm long. Their fruits are about 30 in a cluster, each with a 3 mm long and densely hairy stalk.

Fruiting (follicles) is free, basally united to the axis or shortly stalked, 3-20 laxly that are arranged in a 6-9 cm long cluster. Fruit is flat­tened ovoid to slightly spherical size 1.5-3.5 cm x 1-2.5 cm, partially woody, pale brown with white warts con­taining 2-6 seeds.

Seed is ovoid and red-brown and in open fruit it is hanging on little thin cord that is attached to the placenta.

Ecology / Cultivation

M. champaca occurs in humid tropical evergreen forest or at the edge of forest on deep fertile soils at 250-1500 m altitude. Mean maximum temperature of the hottest month ranges from 35-40oC, the mean minimum temperature of the coldest month from 3-10oC.

Line Drawing / Photograph


Read More

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  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 19. 1998.