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Kopsia arborea Blume

Family Name: Apocynaceae
Synonyms: Kopsia longiflora Merr., Kopsia scortechinii King & Gamble, Kopsia laxinervia Merr., Kopsia lancibracteolata Merr., Kopsia jasminiflora Pit., Kopsia pitardii Merr., Kopsia pruniformis Rchb.f. & Zoll. ex Bakh.f., Kopsia officinalis Tsiang & P.T. Li, Kopsia flavida auct. non Blume
Common Name: Shrub Vinca, Penang Sloe
Full Sun Moderate Water Suitable for Roadsides Ornamental Flowers Tree


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 Tree (Small (6m-15m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Broad / Mushroom / Hemispherical
Maximum Height 14 m


Native Distribution From Andaman and Nicobar Islands, to southern China, Thailand, Vietnam, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo, Java, eastwards to Australia (Queensland) and the Philippines.
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Secondary Rainforest, Disturbed Area / Open Ground)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Non-native (Horticultural / Cultivated Only)

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a tree, up to 14 m tall.
Trunk Its trunk grows up to 30 cm diameter, and its bark is gray in colour.
Foliage Its opposite, stalked leaves are elliptic, with a leathery texture, and are 4.5-30.5 cm long and 1.4-12 cm wide. The margins are wavy and curl upwards. The older leaves will change colour from green to blood red before falling off. Each leaf has 11 to 17 pairs of veins and the margins are tapers to a blunt tip.
Flowers Its stalked, tubular flowers are white with 5 narrow petals, and are 2-3.5 cm long and 1.4-4 cm wide. The flowers are arranged on a stalked inflorescence. They bear a slight resemblance to jasmine flowers, but are not fragrant. It is free-flowering.
Fruits The fruits are oblong, about 2.5cm long and resemble olives. They start out green and turn blue-black and glaucous when ripened. The fruit is a drupe that contains a single large endocarp, and exudes a white sap when plucked or cut.
Habitat It grows in lowland forest and forest margins, from sea level up to 1500m altitude.
Cultivation Propagated from cuttings. Grows well in bright conditions from full sun to partial shade. Can adapt to various types of soil conditions. It does not have any major pest problems. Pruning can be done manually if required, for example pruning of spent flowers.
Ethnobotanical Uses Medicinal ( Bark can be decocted and used as an enema. Leaves and fruits may be used to cure sore throats and tonsillitis.)

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is commonly planted along parks, gardens and minor roads, especially where the planting verge is narrow, due to its compact size and habit.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils
Landscape Uses Roadside Tree / Palm, General, Parks & Gardens

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

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 Moderate
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Leathery
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Elliptical)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire - Wavy / Undulate
Foliar Apex - Tip Acuminate, Caudate
Foliar Base Acute, Cuneate
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.0 (Tree - Intermediate Canopy)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) White
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary
Flower Symmetry Radial
Individual Flower Shape Tubular

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Blue, Black
Mature Fruit Texture(s) Smooth
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Fleshy Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Non-Accessory Fruit

Image Repository



Master ID 1692
Species ID 2985
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 December 2022.