Singapore Government Logo

A Singapore Government Agency Website


Phyllanthus pectinatus Hook.f.

Family Name: Phyllanthaceae
Synonyms: Emblica pectinata (Hook.f.) Ridl., Diasperus pectinatus (Hook.f.) Kuntze
Common Name: Malacca Tree, Melaka, Asam Melaka, Laka Laka, Laka
Full Sun Moderate Water Fruit or Vegetable 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
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic


Native Distribution Peninsular Malaysia
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Secondary Rainforest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Non-native (Horticultural / Cultivated Only)

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a large deciduous tree with scruffily tomentose branchlets.
Foliage Its pinnate leaves have 8 mm long linear-oblong shaped leaflets densely arranged on both sides of the rachis.
Flowers Its small flowers are densely arranged on an inflorescence.
Fruits Its fleshy, top-shaped fruits are 1-2 cm long and 0.8-1 cm wide.
Cultivation It can be propagated by seed.
Etymology Greek phyllon, a leaf, Greek anthus, flower, referring to the flowers in the axils of the leaves of the phyllomorphic branch. Latin pectinatus, comb-like, referring to the densely arranged linear-oblong leaflets which resemble a comb.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Fruits)
Food (Fruit & Vegetable)

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is suitable for planting in parks and gardens for its edible fruits.
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils
Landscape Uses Parks & Gardens, Small 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


Foliage Retention Deciduous
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Leathery
Foliar Type Compound (Even-Pinnate)
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Linear)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 2.5 (Tree - Open Canopy)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Green - Light Green
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Fleshy Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Non-Accessory Fruit

Image Repository



Master ID 1769
Species ID 3062
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.