Melastoma malabathricum L., Sp. Pl. 1 (1753)

Latin for 'from Malabar', a coastal region in India.

Melastoma polyanthum Blume

Melastoma affine D. Don
Melastoma candidum D. Don
Melastoma cavaleriei H. Lv. & Vaniot
Melastoma esquirolii H. Lv.
Melastoma malabathricum var. normale (D. Don) R.C. Srivast.
Melastoma malabathricum subsp. normale (D. Don) K.Mey.
Melastoma normale D. Don
Melastoma polyanthum Blume

Shrub up to 6 m tall and 11 cm dbh. Stipules absent. Leaves opposite, simple, tripli-veined, tertiary venation ladder-like, densely hairy (stiff thick hairs), lower surface whitish-yellow. Flowers ca. 35 mm diameter, purplish, placed in axillary clusters or solitary. Fruits ca. 9 mm diameter, yellowish-grey, fleshy capsules densely covered with hairs, opening to expose brightly coloroured to black seeds with aril.

In open sites in mixed dipterocarp (large gaps), coastal, and sub-montane, forests up to 2700 m altitude, but most common in heavily degraded forests. Often along roads and in clearings. Common along rivers, on hillsides and on ridges.

The roots are used as a mouth-wash for toothache. An extraction of the leaves are used to cure wounds and against stomach problems and diarrhea. The fruits are edible.

Tropical Asia and the Pacific. In Borneo collected in Sarawak, Brunei, Sabah, South- and East-Kalimantan.

Local names
Borneo: Hosing, Karamunting, Kemunting, Kudok-kudok, Lalarit, Odok-odok, Sendudu, Seppa-bang, Uduk-uduk.