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Gmelina philippensis


Gmelina philippensis Cham.

Family Name: Lamiaceae (Labiatae)
Synonyms: Gmelina hystrix Schult. ex Kurz
Common Name: Purple Bulang, Bulongan, Bulang, Pekan, Parrot's Beak, Bulangan, Bulangan Duri


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Shrub
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Irregular


Native Distribution India, Myanmar, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia (Kelantan), Singapore, and the Philippines
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Secondary Rainforest, Disturbed Area / Open Ground)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Non-native (Spontaneous (Casual))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a thorny, climbing shrub, shrub or climber.
Foliage Its opposite, stalked leaves have thinly leathery blades that are egg-shaped to elliptic to drop-shaped, green above, pale green below, and 5–8 by 3 cm.
Flowers The flowers are yellow, 5–8 cm long, and arranged in hanging cones with pointed red bracts.
Fruit Its drupe (fruit) is yellow, drop-shaped, and 3 cm long.
Habitat It grows in open habitats, gaps, margins, thickets, and secondary forests.
Associated Fauna Its flowers are insect-pollinated.
Cultivation It can be propagated by seed.
Etymology Gmelina, commemorating Johann G. Gmelin (1709-1755), German naturalist and traveller in Siberia, professor of botany at Tübingen University; Latin philippensis, from the Philippines, referring to one locality in the natural distribution of the species
Ethnobotanical Uses Medicinal: Its fruit is mixed with lime to treat cough. The juice of its fruit is applied to eczema of the feet. The juice of its roots is used as a purgative and in treating fatigue. The extract of its roots is used internally as a stimulant, resolvent, and in treating diseases of the joints and nerves.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is suitable for growing in parks and gardens for its ornamental bright yellow flowers.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Foliage
Landscape Uses Parks & Gardens
Usage Hazard - Cons Spines/Thorns - Stem/Branch

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)
Seed or Spore Dispersal Biotic (Fauna)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade, Full Sun
Water Preference Little Water, Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast to Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils
Propagation Method Seed


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Leathery, Thin
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Ovate, Obovate, Elliptical)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Dicot)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Yellow / Golden
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal
Flower Symmetry Bilateral

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Yellow / Golden
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type Fleshy Fruit , Non-Accessory Fruit

Image Repository



Master ID 741
Species ID 2036
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: 22 April 2024.