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Leea indica


Leea indica (Burm.f.) Merr.

Family Name: Vitaceae
Synonyms: Leea gigantea Griff., Leea sambucina Willd., Leea sundaica Miq.
Common Name: Bandicoot Berry, Common Tree-Vine, Jolok-Jolok, Merbati Padang, 火筒树


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

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants)
Plant Growth Form Shrub, Tree (Small (6m-15m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Irregular
Maximum Height 15 m


Native Distribution India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Thailand, Indochina, southern China, through Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore, Sumatra, Borneo, the Philippines, throughout Indonesia to New Guinea, northern Australia, Solomon Islands Vanuatu and Fiji.
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Mountain, Secondary Rainforest, Monsoon Forest, Coastal Forest, Freshwater Swamp Forest, Grassland / Savannah/ Scrubland)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Least Concern (LC))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a shrub or small tree up to 15 m tall.
Foliage Its alternate, stalked, twice or thrice pinnate leaves are 45-60 cm long, with many leaflets.
Flowers Its greenish-white flowers are found in a branched flowering shoot.
Fruit Its round fruits are purplish-black when ripe, 5-15 mm wide and contains up to six seeds.
Habitat It grows in wet areas of primary and secondary forests, from sea level up to mountains 2,500 m in altitude.
Associated Fauna Its flowers are pollinated by insects and butterflies. The fruits are eaten by birds, especially bulbuls.
Cultivation It can be propagated by seed or stem cuttings.
Etymology Latin Leea, a name for tropical small trees or shrubs named for James Lee (1715–1795), who was a nurseryman; Latin indica, from India, referring to one of the countries in its natural distribution range.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts : Edible Fruits, Edible Leaves
Medicinal: The leaves are used for treating body pains, cuts, fever, skin complaints, vertigo, and wounds. A decoction of the shoots is used to treat sores. Body pains, fevers and insomnia is believed to be cured by beating the body with the leafy shoots. The roots are viewed to be antipyretic and diaphoretic, and are used to relieve colic, diarrhoea, dysentery, muscular pain and to induce perspiration. It is also used to treat leucorrhoea, interstinal and uterine cancer.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is suitable for growing along streetscapes, parks and gardens.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage, Ornamental Form
Landscape Uses General, Roadside Tree / Palm, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Hedge / Screening

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Bird Attracting (Fruits), Butterfly Food Plant (Flower Nectar), Bee-Attracting
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna) (Insects (Butterfly, Moth), Insects (Bee))
Seed or Spore Dispersal Biotic (Fauna) (Vertebrates (Other Mammal))

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade, Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Saline Soils / Salt Spray, Fertile Loamy Soils, Easy to Grow
Transplanting Tolerance Good
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Leathery
Foliar Type Compound
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Serrate / Toothed
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Dicot)

Floral (Angiosperm)

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

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Black
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type Fleshy Fruit , Non-Accessory Fruit

Image Repository



Master ID 897
Species ID 2191
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: 03 July 2023.