Diospyros elliptifolia Merr., Philip. J. Sci. 30 (1926)

Latin for 'with elliptic leaves'.

Diospyros elliptifolia forma kinabaluensis Bakh.
Diospyros kinabaluensis (Bakh.) Kosterm.

Understorey tree up to 18 m tall and 24 cm dbh. Stipules absent. Leaves alternate, simple, penni-veined, glabrous. Flowers ca. 3 mm in diameter, white, with corolla tube, placed in bundles or solitary in leaf axils. Fruits ca. 19 mm long, green-yellow, fleshy berry.

Tree to 18 m tall and 24 cm diameter. Twigs not tending to dry black. Leaves chartaceous, glabrous, not subglaucous below; obovate, elliptic or oblong, 8-17(-32) x 4-9.5(-12) cm, base attenuate, apex shortly acuminate; midrib grooved above, with prominently raised rims, especially toward base, and often conspicuously black against a light greenish brown leaf under surface; lateral veins prominent below, 5-10 pairs, arching and diminishing toward leaf margin; intercostal venation prominulous on both sides, reticulate, or sometimes invisible; petiole very short, 0.2-0.5 cm long, leaf almost subsessile because of the attenuate base. Male inflorescences c. 0.3 cm long, each bearing up to 3 flowers. Male flowers with calyx divided into 4 or 5 valvate triangular lobes; corolla c. 0.7 cm long, urceolate. Female inflorescences 0.1-0.5 cm long, each bearing usually solitary flower. Female flowers with calyx deeply divided into 4-5 leafy valvate lobes of 0.7-1 x 0.5-1.5 cm. Fruits solitary, subsessile, globose, 1.5-3 cm diameter, often with a pointed apical protuberance, drying shining black, smooth, finely hairy, symmetric. Fruit calyx not or slightly accrescent; lobes leafy coriaceous, veined, erect, to c. 1.5 x 1.5 cm, sides expanded and slightly plicate. [from Tree Flora of Sabah and Sarawak]

In undisturbed mixed dipterocarp forests up to 800 m altitude. Mostly in swamps and alluvial sites, but also on hillsides and ridges. Also found on poor sandy to ultrabasic soils.

Sumatra, Borneo, Philippines.

Local names
Borneo: Kayu balleh, Kayu malam.