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Knema corticosa


Knema corticosa Lour.

Family Name: Myristicaceae
Synonyms: Knema globularia (Lam.) Warb., Knema missionis (Wall. ex King) Warb.
Common Name: Small-Leaved Nutmeg, Gerahan, Merbatu Kechil, Penarahan Padi, Cendarah Padi, 小叶红光树

Knema corticosa or Small-Leaved Nutmeg is a tree that grows to 24 m tall. It has membranous to thinly leathery leaves with a greyish underside. Both flowers and fruit are covered in rust-coloured, woolly hairs, the fruit is single-seeded enclosed within a rose-red aril.


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
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Common Names
Species Summary

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Tree (Medium (16m-30m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Irregular
Maximum Height 24 m


Native Distribution Southern China, Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Borneo, and Java
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Secondary Rainforest, Coastal Forest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Vulnerable (VU))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a tree that can grow up to 24 m tall.
Foliage Leaves are membranous to thinly leathery, oblong to lance-shaped, dark metallic sheen above, greyish below. The leaves are covered in short hairs at the start, turn hairless (glabrous) with time. Leaves are measured 6 - 23 cm long by 1.3 - 7 cm wide.
Flowers Flowers are dioecious where male or female flowers are produced on separate individuals. The male inflorescence has 5 - 20 flowers while female inflorescence bears fewer, up to 10. Each flower is greenish yellow, 3 - 4 lobed, up to 5 mm wide, covered in short, rust-coloured, woolly hairs.
Fruit The fruit is held in clusters of up to 5. Each fruit is single-seeded, pinkish-orange, elliptic, almost round to pear-shaped. They measure between 1.2 - 2 cm long, 1 - 1.5 cm wide, grey-brown to rust-coloured hairs may be present. The seed is enclosed within a fleshy rose-red covering known as aril.
Habitat Occurs in lowland primary forest, on low undulating land, swampy ground, hill sides in coastal forest, close to sandy beaches, to 250 m altitude. <1>
Associated Fauna Its fruits are eaten by the Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris).
Cultivation It can be propagated by seed.
Ethnobotanical Uses Timber & Products: Its wood can be used in house-building although not durable.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Fruits
Landscape Uses Coastal, General, Suitable for Roadsides, Parks & Gardens
SGMP Treatment

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Bird-Attracting
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)
Seed or Spore Dispersal Biotic (Fauna)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Slow
Rootzone Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Saline Soils / Salt Spray, Fertile Loamy Soils
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Propagation Method Seed


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Leathery, Thin
Young Flush Texture(s) Velvety / Furry / Tomentose
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Lanceolate, Oblong)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Acuminate, Acute
Foliar Base Cuneate, Rounded / Obtuse
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.0 (Tree - Intermediate Canopy)
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Remarks Greyish below.

Non - Foliar and Storage

Stem Type & Modification Woody
Root Type Underground (Tap Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Unisexual Flowers , Dioecious
Flower Colour(s) Cream / Off-White, Yellow / Golden
Flower Texture(s) Velvety / Furry / Tomentose
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary
Flower Symmetry Radial
Individual Flower Shape Cruciform / Cross-shaped
Inflorescence Type Umbel
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Yellow / Golden
Mature Fruit Texture(s) Velvety / Furry / Tomentose
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type
Seed Quantity Per Fruit Few (1-5)


References <1> de Wilde, W.J.J.O. & Duyfjes, B.E.E. (2018). Knema. In: Kiew, R., Chung, R.C.K., Saw, L.G., Soepadmo, E. (2018). Myristicaceae. Flora of Peninsular Malaysia, ser. 2 Seed Plants, vol. 7, pp. 202-204. Kuala Lumpur: Forest Research Institute Malaysia.

Image Repository



Master ID 1689
Species ID 2982
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 09 October 2023.