Peronema canescens Jack

Peronema canescens Jack




Peronema heterophyllum Miq.

Vernacular Names


Sukai, cherek (Peninsular).


False elder, kurus.

Indonesia Jati sabrang (General), jati londo (Java), kurus (Kalimantan).
Thailand Sangkae (Surat Thani), khoeilai (Chumphon, Ranong), sakae (Malay, Narathiwat).

Geographical Distributions

Peronema is a monotypic genus and is native to Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, the Riau Archipelago, West Java and Kalimantan (especially the centre). It is cultivated in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. It may have been introduced into Java from Sumatra but is now fully naturalised.


Peronema canescens is an evergreen or deciduous shrub or small to medium-sized tree, which can reach up to 20(—30) m tall. The bole is straight or slightly flexuous, branchless for up to 9(—15) m, measuring up to 70 cm in diametre and usually with small buttresses. The root system is superficial and with a short taproot. The surface of the bark is dirty grey or light buff, smooth to fissured and fibrous or scaly. The crown is ovoid, with 4-angled twigs and densely short-hairy.

The leaves are arranged opposite, imparipinnate and purplish tinged when young. The petiole and rachis are winged, together and measuring (16-)30-90 cm long. There are 3-11 pairs of leaflets which are opposite or subopposite. They are sessile or shortly stalked, lance-shaped, measuring up to 35 cm x 7.5 cm, with wedge-shaped base and slightly unequal. They are acute to acuminate at the top. The upper leaflets increase in size, with entire margin (serrate in saplings), densely pubescent and pale whitish beneath, with 20-30 pairs of lateral veins, parallel and prominent below. The stipules are absent.

The inflorescence which resembles a panicle is terminal or in the axils of the upper leaves. It is large and widely branched, erect, measuring 25-60 cm long and densely shortly grey tomentose. The flowers are bisexual, small, subsessile and 5-merous. The sepal is densely pubescent outside, measuring about 2.5 mm long but is slightly enlarged in fruit, and the lobes are slightly shorter than the tube. The petal is two-lipped, with a short bell-shaped tube, white or greenish-white, and appressed pubescent outside where the upper lip is bifid while the lower lip is 3-fid, longer than the upper lid and with a large median lobe 2.5 mm long. The 2 stamens are inserted at the base of the widening part of the petal tube, far exserted and with hairless filaments. The ovary is 4-celled where the cells are 1-ovuled, densely pubescent, with far exserted style and awl-shaped at the top.

The fruit is drupaceous, dry, nearly spherical, small, measuring 3-3.5 mm in diametre and densely pubescent. It splits into 4 parts which are with many pendulous seeds. Seedling is with epigeal germination. The petiolate cotyledons are equal, ovate with an emarginate apex and entire or coarsely 2-4-dentate. The first leaves are pinnately lobed while the subsequent ones are imparipinnate.

Ecology / Cultivation

Peronema canescens is common in secondary forests, forest clearings, river banks, along roads and railways, and in open country. It does not occur in primary forests and it grows best in moist to wet sites, even if they are flooded seasonally; it does not withstand very dry conditions well. Peronema canescens occurs naturally from sea level up to 600(-900) m altitude.

Line Drawing / Photograph



  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 5(1): Timber trees: Major commercial timbers.