Vernonia arborea Buch.-Ham

Vernonia arborea Buch.-Ham




Vernonia celebica DC., Vernonia javanica DC., Vernonia wallichii Ridley.

Vernacular Names

Malaysia Gambong, menggambong (Peninsular), tapong-tapong (Sabah).
English Tree vemonia.
Indonesia Nangi (Bali), sembang kuwuk (Java).
Philippines Malasambong gubat (General).

Chuang, kaphuam maphrao, nuan paeng (Peninsular).

Geographical Distributions

Vernonia arborea is distributed from India and Sri Lanka through Indo-China and southern China towards Thailand and throughout the Malaysian region.


Vernonia arborea is an evergreen herb, shrub, climber or rarely small to medium-sized tree that can reach up to 30(-40) m tall, with its bole is up to 60(-100) cm in diametre and with short buttresses. The bark surface is becoming closely narrowly fissured or scaly, dark grey to brown. The inner bark is fibrous, pale brown to orange-brown and turning darker or purplish upon exposure.

The leaves are arranged spirally, simple, entire and glandular below.

The inflorescence is terminal or in the upper leaf axils, consisting of widely branched panicles of heads. The head is with 5-6 white flowers, which are much longer than the involucre. The involucre is bell-shaped. Receptacle is naked. The petal is tubular with a bell-shaped to funnel-shaped limb. The anthers are with arrowhead-shaped base.

The 3-angled fruit is a ribbed, 1-seeded fruit which is flattened on two sides and rounded on the third. The pappus is hairy, usually 2- or rarely 1-seriate and it is scabrous.

Ecology / Cultivation

Vernonia arborea is locally common in secondary forest, along roadsides and also in fields with alang-alang (Imperata cylindrica (L.) Raeuschel). It is found from lowland to lower montane habitats up to 2200(-3000) m altitude. In the Philippines it occurs in dipterocarp forest. In mountains in East Java V. arborea is conspicuous in the succession to mixed oak-laurel forest.

Line Drawing / Photograph



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