Bridelia tomentosa Blume, Bijdr. 597 (1826)

Species name meaning 'velvetly hairy'.

Amanoa tomentosa Baill.
Bridelia glabrifolia Merr.
Bridelia lancifolia Roxb.
Bridelia louteirii Hook. & Arn.
Bridelia monoica Merr.
Bridelia nayarii P.Basu
Bridelia phyllanthoides W.Fitzg.
Bridelia rhamnoides Griff.
Bridelia tomentosa var. chinensis Muell.Arg.
Bridelia tomentosa var. chinensis (Muell. Arg.) Gehrm.
Bridelia tomentosa var. eriantha Airy Shaw
Bridelia tomentosa var. glabrescens Benth.
Bridelia tomentosa var. glabrifolia (Merr.) Airy Shaw
Bridelia tomentosa var. lancifolia (Roxb.) M¨šll.Arg.
Bridelia tomentosa var. nayarii (P.Basu) Chakrab., M.Gangop. & N.P.Balakr.
Bridelia tomentosa var. ovoidea Benth.
Bridelia tomentosa var. rhamnoides (Griff.) Muell.Arg.
Bridelia tomentosa var. trichadenia Muell.Arg.
Bridelia urticoides Griff.
Clutia monoica Lour.
Phyllanthus loureiroi Muell.Arg. [Illegitimate]

Erect to scrambling shrub or small tree, up to 13 m high, up to 15 cm dbh; branches very slender, often long and whip-like, scrambling, spreading or drooping, glabrous to tomentose, with scattered lenticels, old branches sometimes thorny. Bark smooth to slightly roughened, inner bark pink. Stipules early caducous, ovate to narrowly triangular, 2-4(-5) by c. 1 mm, sometimes aristate at apex, pubescent to tomentose. Leaves often rather small; petiole terete, glabrous to tomentose, (2-)3-5.5 by 0.8-1.5 mm; blade elliptic to obovate, 25-140 by 10-60 mm, length/width ratio (1.7-)2-3.7, thinly chartaceus, base obtuse (to acute), margin entire, rarely shallowly crenate where lateral veins reach the margin, apex (bluntly) acute (to shortly acuminate), upper surface glabrous to scattered appressed hairs, dull dark green, lower surface glabrous to tomentose, pubescent on main nerves, dull green to whitish green, often conspicuously glaucous; venation (weakly) prominent, secondary veins in 7-12(-15) pairs, continuously arching and joining the marginal vein, tertiary veins percurrent, irregularly scalariform, irregular reticulate areolation. Inflorescences small multibracteate glomerules of up to 10(-20) sessile green flowers; bracts broadly triangular, up to 0.7 by 0.5 mm, puberulous, with ciliate margin. Flowers scented, faint musty smell, sessile, rarely with up to l mm long glabrous stalk (pistillate flowers stouter stalked than staminate ones); sepals triangular, glabrous, greenish yellow; petals very variable in shape, base cuneate to spatulate, apex roundish, notched or lobulate, up to 1 by 0.8 mm, whitish yellow; disc glabrous. Staminate flowers 2-3 mm in diameter; sepals 0.8-1.2 by 0.5-0.8 mm; disc 1-1.2 mm in diameter; stamens: free part of filaments up to 0.5 mm long, anthers shortly ellipsoid, 0.4-0.5 by 0.3-0.4 mm; staminal column c. 0.7 mm long; pistillode conical-ovoid, up to 0.4 by 0.2 mm. Pistillate flowers 3-4 mm in diameter; 1.2-1.5 by 0.8-1.2 mm; outer disc c. 2.2 mm in diameter, inner one tubular, up to 0.6 mm long, covering 3/4 of the ovary, margin sometimes erose; ovary globoid, c. 1 mm in diameter, style completely divided into 2 arms, very short, to 0.5 mm long, stigma lobed. Infructescences with up to 7 fruits. Fruits (sub)globoid, sometimes depressed and laterally compressed, emarginate at apex, slightly bilobate, 4.5-6.5 mm in diameer, fleshy, greenish to blue, blackish when dry; endocarps 2, semigloboid, c. 4 by 5 by 2.5 mm, woody, brown, apically splitting. Seeds semigloboid to broadly semi- tear-shaped, with deep lateral furrow, 3-3.5 by c. 4 by 2-2.5 mm, brown, rugulate. [from Flora Malesiana]

Deciduous to evergreen forests, primary to secondary vegetation; reported from sandy or loamy soil, limestone, and over granite bedrocks. Alt.: sea level up to 1000 m. Reported to be rather common on waste land and in secondary forests. Crown sometimes full of butterflies.

Timber tree: wood suitable for baskets, carts, wheels, and tool-handles. Tannin-producing plant: bark astringent, used in colic, also for tanning, used to colour wood black. Infusion of leaves against colic. Fruits eaten. Seeds used by children for bullets in bamboo guns. Well known in village medicine, in folk tales.

From India and Sri Lanka to southern China and Taiwan, and all the way to northern Australia and New Guinea.

Local names