Flacourtia indica (Burm.f.) Merr., Interpr. Rumph. Herb. Amb. (1917)

Latin for 'from the Indies'.

Flacourtia afra Pic.Serm.
Flacourtia balansae Gagnep.
Flacourtia elliptica (Tul.) Warb.
Flacourtia frondosa Clos
Flacourtia gambecola Clos
Flacourtia heterophylla Turcz.
Flacourtia hilsenbergii C.Presl
Flacourtia hirtiuscula Oliv.
Flacourtia indica var. innocua (Haines) H.O.Saxena & Brahmam
Flacourtia kirkiana H.M.Gardner
Flacourtia lenis Craib
Flacourtia obcordata Roxb.
Flacourtia parvifolia Merr.
Flacourtia perrottetiana Clos
Flacourtia ramontchi Herit.
Flacourtia ramontchi var. renvoizei Fosberg
Flacourtia rotundifolia Clos
Flacourtia sapida Roxb.
Flacourtia sepiaria Roxb.
Flacourtia sepiaria var. frondosa Clos
Flacourtia sepiaria var. innocua Haines
Flacourtia sepiaria var. leucophloea Clos
Flacourtia thorelii Gagnep.
Gmelina indica Burm.f.
Gmelina javanica Christm.
Mespilus silvestris Burm.
Myroxylon decline Blanco
Rhamnopsis sepiaria Rchb.
Sideroxylon spinosum Willd.
Spina spinarum I mas Rumph.
Spina spinarum II femina Rumph.
Stigmarota africana Lour.
Stigmarota edulis Blanco

Understorey tree up to 15 m tall and 20 cm dbh. Stem with spines. Stipules absent. Leaves alternate, simple, penni-to tripli-veined, glabrous, margin toothed. Flowers ca. 5 mm diameter, placed in short racemes. Fruits ca. 16 mm diameter, brown, fleshy berry with several seeds.

Deciduous, polymorphous bush or small tree up to 15 m; trunk and big branches set with branched thorns, but older branches often unarmed; younger branches with axillary, simple thorns, decrescent in size apically; bark greyish buff, rather fissured and flaky; crown bushy, spreading, with many arching branches with drooping ends and set with tufts of erect twigs, these glabrous or pubescent, laxly set with elliptic lenticels when young, soon covered with grey bark. Leaves rather small, variable in form, size, texture and indument, mostly narrow and obovate, blunt, cuneate to the base, coarsely and +/- regularly crenate specially towards the apex and set in clusters on the branches of the previous year, others larger, deeply notched and elliptic to heart shaped, spaced along the vigorous young shoots and mostly with thorns in their axils, membranous to coriaceous, glabrous to softly tomentose on both sides, rose-red when young, 2-4(-7-8.5) by 1.5-3(-4-5) cm; (red) midrib and 4-6 pairs of nerves little prominent on both sides, reticulations slight, mostly distinct; petiole red, mostly slender and puberulous, 3-5(-11) mm. Racemes short, puberulous, few-flowered, axillary or terminating short, lateral, 3-4-leaved twigs (these sometimes reduced to very short leafless shoots bearing several lanceolate bracts at their base, or transformed into woody thorns). Pedicels puberulous, 3-5(-7) mm. Sepals (4-)5-6(-7), ovate, obtuse, mostly nearly glabrous on their back, +/- densely hairy at the margin and inside, 1.5 mm. Male Flowers: disk slightly lobulate or crenate. Filaments 2-2.5 mm, hairy only at the base. Female Flowers: disk entire or nearly so. Ovary globular, somewhat attenuate at the apex, with 5-6(-7), radiate, thickly, terete, 1 mm long styles each with a slightly bilobed stigma, not or little connate at the base. Fruit rather small, globose to ellipsoid, solitary or in small clusters on the short lateral, leafy twigs, c. 0.8-1(-1.3) cm diam., ripening dull to blackish red, rather translucent, with 5-6(-7), short styles radiating from a short, rather thickened common stalk-like basis. Seeds 5-8. [from Flora Malesiana]

Usually in seasonally dry, open, barren places, on limestone, clayey or sandy soils, up to 1700 m altitude.

Often cultivated for the edible sweet fruits. Infusions of the bark are used as a gargle, of the root to cure pneumonia, of the leaves to cure fever, coughs and diarrhoea.

Widespread and cultivated in tropical and subtropical countries in Africa, India, SE. Asia, and Polynesia, in Malaysia in the Malay Peninsula, frequent in Java, Madura and Luzon, apparently scattered or rare in Banka, Bali, S. Celebes, Timor (Leti Isl.) and Mindoro. No material seen from Sumatra.

Local names
Cambodia: krak hop nhii.
English: Madagascar plum.
Indonesia: duri rukem (Bahasa Indonesia), saradan (Sundanese), baga (Java).
Malaysia: kerkup kecil.
Philippines: bitolgol (Tagalog), bolong (Mangyan), palutan (Ibanag).
Thailand: takhop-pa (central), makwen-pa, makwen-nok (northern).
Vietnam: hong quan, muon quan, an do.