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Syzygium polyanthum


Syzygium polyanthum (Wight) Walp.

Family Name: Myrtaceae
Synonyms: Eugenia atropunctata C.B.Rob., Eugenia holmanii Elmer, Eugenia junghuhniana Miq., Eugenia lambii Elmer, Eugenia lucidula Miq., Eugenia microbotrya Miq., Eugenia nitida Duthie, Eugenia pamatensis Miq., Eugenia polyantha Wight, Eugenia polyantha M.R.Hend. var. sessilis, Eugenia resinosa Gagnep., Myrtus cymosa Blume, Syzygium cymosum Korth., Syzygium micranthum Blume ex Miq., Syzygium microbotryum (Miq.) Masam., Syzygium pamatense (Miq.) Masam., Syzygium polyanthum (M.R.Hend.) I.M.Turner var. sessile
Common Name: Indonesian Bayleaf, Salam, Samak, Indian Bayleaf, Buah Salam, Kelat Samak, Serah, 多花番樱桃, 沙冷果树


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 Tree (Medium (16m-30m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Irregular, Oval, Columnar
Maximum Height 36 m
Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width 2 m to 6 m


Native Distribution India, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Brunei, and Indonesia
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Secondary Rainforest, Grassland / Savannah/ Scrubland)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Least Concern (LC))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a tree that can grow up to 30 m tall, attain 180 cm in girth size, and with cylindrical or oval tree crown, greyish brown twigs, and grey flaky bark.
Crown It has a cylindrical to oval crown.
Trunk The bark is grey and flaky.
Foliage It has opposite, stalked leaves that are thinly leathery, elliptic or lance-shaped, 5–16 cm long by 2.2–7 cm wide, and each has a pointed leaf tip, 1 vein running parallel to the leaf margin, and 6–11 pairs of side veins.
Flowers It produces bisexual flowers that are creamy white, turning pink or reddish, faintly fragrant, about 0.8–1.3 cm, and found in up to 10 cm long, flower clusters located at ends of its branches, or axils of its leaves.
Fruit It produces fleshy fruits that are round to flattened round, 0.4–1.2 cm across, red to purplish black when ripe, and each contains 1 seed.
Others - Plant Morphology Closely spaced individuals planted in a row may be shaped into a bright green hedge or screen. This species is easy-to-grow and requires little maintenance.
Associated Fauna The fruits are consumed by various types of birds, such as the Jambu Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus jambu) and Cream-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus simplex).
Cultivation It can be propagated by cuttings, air-layering and seed. The seeds lose viability within 4 - 6 weeks. To propagate by seed, place fresh fruits on top of the soil in a shady location. Germination will occur from 1 - 12 weeks later.
Etymology Greek syzygos, joined, referring to the paired leaves of this species; Greek polyanthum, many-flowered, referring to the numerous flowers it produces
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts : Edible Fruits, Edible Leaves
Food (Herb and Spice): The young leaves are a commonly used spice in Southeast Asian cuisine that is particularly popular in Indonesia. It has a slightly sour taste. Fresh or dried leaves are added to meat, vegetable and rice dishes, such as curries and stews. (Fruit & Vegetable): The fruits are edible.
Medicinal: In Malaysia, a poultice prepared from leaves, roots and bark is applied to the skin to provide anti-itch relief. In Indonesia, leaf infusions and bark extracts are used to treat diarrhoea.
Timber & Products: The wood of this species is moderately hard to hard. Its color varies from pale to pinkish brown. The wood is used to make furniture, as well as building material for home construction.
Others: In the Dutch Indies, a bark infusion was once used to tan fishing nets and dye bamboo mats. The tree is sometimes planted in the understory of tree plantations to inhibit growth of weeds. The leaves are good mulching material, because they decompose slowly.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It suitable as a roadside tree, fast growing, and with attractive tree crown and flowers. Its fruits can also attract birds.
Desirable Plant Features Fragrant (Flowers, Foliage) (Day), Ornamental Fruits
Landscape Uses Roadside Tree / Palm, General, Hedge / Screening, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Shade Providing Tree / Palm, Reforestation
Thematic Landscaping Economic Garden

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Bird Attracting (Fruits), Butterfly Food Plant (Flower Nectar)
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna) (Insects (Butterfly, Moth), Insects (Ant, Beetle, Fly, Thrip, Wasp))
Seed or Spore Dispersal Biotic (Fauna)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade, Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast to Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Fertile Loamy Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Easy to Grow, Moist Soils
Maintenance Requirements Low
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting, Air-Layering
Planting Distance 2 m to 3 m


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Glossy / Shiny, Leathery
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Green
Young Flush Texture(s) Leathery
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Elliptical, Lanceolate)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute
Foliar Base Acute
Typical Foliar Area Mesophyll ( 45cm2 - 182.25 cm2 )
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.0 (Tree - Intermediate Canopy)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Trunk Type (Non Palm) Woody
Bark Colour(s) Grey
Mature Bark Texture Fissured, Scaly
Root Type Underground (Tap Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) White, Cream / Off-White
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary
Flower Symmetry Radial
Inflorescence Type Panicle
Flowering Period Free-Flowering
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Black, Red, Pink, Purple
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type Fleshy Fruit , Berry

Image Repository



Master ID 1871
Species ID 3164
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: 19 August 2022.