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Memecylon coeruleum


Memecylon coeruleum Jack

Family Name: Melastomataceae
Synonyms: Memecylon caeruleum var. floribundum, Memecylon cyanocarpum, Memecylon cordatum, Memecylon grande, Memecylon manillanum, Memecylon lutescens, Memecylon floribundum, Memecylon caeruleum
Common Name: Nipis Kulik, Blue Strawberry Flowers, Javanese Nipis, Api-api Hutan, Delek-delek Jambu, Delek Jamu Putih, 天蓝谷木, 美锡兰树


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, Tree (Small (6m-15m), Shrubby (1m-5m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Shrubby
Maximum Height 3 m to 12 m


Native Distribution The coasts of mainland Southeast Asia, the Philippines, and throughout the Malay Archipelago to New Guinea
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Secondary Rainforest, Monsoon Forest, Temperate Forest, Coastal Forest), Shoreline (Sandy Beach)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal, Temperate
Local Conservation Status Non-native (Spontaneous (Casual))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a big shrub, or small tree with broadly-conical crown, usually up to 6m under cultivation, reaching 10-12m height in the wild.
Foliage Its opposite, shortly-stalked leaves have leathery leaf blades that are egg-shaped to elliptic, and 8–16 by 3.5–7 cm, with scarcely visible venation. Young leaves are dark brown in colour.
Stems Twigs and branches terete (4-angled).
Flowers  Its 1 cm-wide flowers have deep blue or dark purple petals, borne on a pink cup-shaped hypanthium, topped by 8 purple-white U-shaped anthers. The flowers are clustered into an umbel inflorescences arising directly from twigs at the leaf axils. Blooming occurs several times a year under local conditions. 
Fruits Its ellipsoid to obovoid fruits are 10–15 by 6–9 mm, and usually contain one seed. The fruit ripens from pink or dark red to deep purple or black with purple juice. Flowering-cum-fruiting period of wild specimens in Peninsular Malaysian lowland jungle lasts around 13 weeks per episode.
Habitat Found as thickets in understorey of lowland forests, forest gaps, at open sandy spots, along slopes, on rocky outcrops and rocky shores.
Associated Fauna Its flowers are insect-pollinated. The fruits are eaten and dispersed by birds. It attracts Blue-banded Digger Bee and Leaf-cutter bee.
Cultivation Takes full sun to bright shade. Prefers well-drained soils. Tolerant of saline sites and salt spray. Remove basal shoots if grown as tree. Prune periodically to promote good form or to train as hedge. Leaves of stressed plants may be prone to attack by sooty mould. Propagate by stem-cuttings, air-layering or seeds.
Etymology Genus epithet 'Memecylon' derived from 'memaecylon' -- a name used by ancient Greek philosophers Dioscorides and Pliny for the red fruits of Arbutus unedo (Oriental Strawberry Tree) -- and used in reference with 'Memecylon' to describe the pink to reddish berries produced by members of this genus. Species epithet 'coeruleum' means 'blue', a reference to the colour of the flowers.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Fruits)
Food (Fruit & Vegetable : Leaves eaten as vegetable. Fruits edible, but tasteless.)
Timber & Products ( Source of good-quality fuelwood and charcoal. Heavy hardwood used as poles, beams and rafters in house construction and temporary structures, also used to make boats, paddles, furniture, household utensils, tool handles and walking sticks. Wood is of fairly good quality, but wider utilization restricted by the plants' often poor form and relative scarcity. )

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is suitable for streetscapes, parks and gardens, as a shrub, hedge or a small tree.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Fruits
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Fertile Loamy Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Saline Soils / Salt Spray, Moist Soils
Landscape Uses Coastal, General, Flowerbed / Border, Roadside Tree / Palm, Parks & Gardens, Beachfront / Shoreline, Hedge / Screening
Thematic Landscaping Naturalistic Garden, Bird & Wildlife Garden
SGMP Treatment

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

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

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade, Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth, Glossy / Shiny, Leathery, Thick
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Elliptical, Oblong)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire - Wavy / Undulate
Foliar Apex - Tip Acuminate
Foliar Base Rounded / Obtuse, Cuneate
Typical Foliar Area Notophyll ( 20.25cm2 - 45 cm2 ), Mesophyll ( 45cm2 - 182.25 cm2 )
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.0 (Tree - Intermediate Canopy)
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Remarks Dark Brown

Non - Foliar and Storage

Trunk Type (Non Palm) Woody
Stem Type & Modification Woody
Root Type Underground (Tap Root, Fibrous Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Blue, Pink, Purple
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary
Flower Symmetry Radial
Flower Size - Remarks 5 - 6 mm across
Inflorescence Type Umbel
Ovule Placentation Free-Central
Ovary Position Inferior / Epipgynous
Flowering Period Free-Flowering
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Black, Purple
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Fleshy Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Berry

Image Repository



Master ID 929
Species ID 2223
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: 20 August 2022.