Cnestis palala (Lour.) Merr.

Cnestis palala (Lour.) Merr.




Cnestis diffusa Blanco, Cnestis platantha Griffith.

Vernacular Names


Garing-garing, sembelit merah, sembelit kecil (Peninsular).


Andor balimbing, baih patuh senggulin, jukut abang (Sumatra).


Kalakalamyasan (Tagalog), salsaladoi (Iloko), palo santo (Sp).


'hon kai, 'sã mãt, bén bit.


Kra phaak laak (Trat), ngonkai (Central), maadaeng (Peninsular).


Tr[uw][owf]ngkh[ees], d[aa]y v[aws]p c[aaf]y.

Geographical Distributions

Cnestis palala occurs in the Andaman Islands, southern Burma (Myanmar), southern Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo, northern part of the Philippines and Sulawesi.


This is a small to large liana, which can reach up to 25 m long, or a shrub. It is often with climbing branches and rarely a small tree up to 10 m tall. The branchlets are densely brown-hairy, but becoming hairless with age.

The leaves are imparipinnate with 6- to 21-jugate. The petiole is 1-7 cm long while stipules are absent. The lateral leaflets are narrowly ovate or narrowly oblong to ovate or oblong, measuring (1-)1.5-8 cm x 0.7-2.5 cm, while the terminal leaflet is narrowly elliptical or narrowly obovate to elliptical or obovate, measuring 3-8 cm x 1-3 cm. The leaflets are densely hairy below. The petiolules are 0.5-1.5 mm long.

The inflorescence is an axillary raceme or panicle, on older branches, it is densely yellowish-brown hairy and up to 35-flowered. The flowers are bisexual, regular, 5-merous and obscurely heterostylous / distylous. The pedicel is articulated. The 2-5 mm long sepals are narrowly ovate to narrowly oblong, while petals are ovate or elliptical to narrowly oblong, measuring (0.5-)2-4(-5) mm long and white to creamy. The 10 stamens are slightly differing in length in the 2 whorls. There are 5 carpels, free and superior.

The fruit consists of 1-3 follicles, ellipsoid to pear-shaped, 2.5-6 cm long, densely reddish-hairy outside and with long yellowish hairs inside. Each follicle is 1-seeded.

The seed is ovoid, 1.5-3 cm long, black and with an arilloid at base. The cotyledons are thin and veined while the endosperm is abundant.

Ecology / Cultivation

C. palala occurs in primary and secondary rainforests up to 500 m altitude, also in riverine and marsh forests, sometimes in dry forests and thickets.

Line Drawing / Photograph



  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No.12(3): Medicinal and poisonous plants 3.