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Memecylon pauciflorum Blume

Family Name: Melastomataceae
Synonyms: Memecylon pauciflorum var. pisocarpum, Memecylon pulchellum, Memecylon umbellatum, Memecylon capitellatum
Common Name: Cherry Shrub, 少花谷木
Full Sun: 6-8h Semi-Shade Moderate Water Bird-Attracting Native to Singapore Fruit & Vegetable Roadside Tree / Palm Ornamental Flowers Woody 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), Shrubby (1m-5m)), Shrub (Woody)
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Shrubby, Irregular
Maximum Height 1 m to 8 m


Native Distribution India, Southern China, Indochina, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Northern Australia
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Monsoon Forest, Mountain)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Presumed Nationally Extinct (NE))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Woody shrub or small shrubby tree, up to 6-8m height if left undisturbed in the wild. Crown typically bushy and multi-branched.
Foliage Leaves simple, almost sessile (stalkless), arranged oppositely along long twigs, thus resembling a large pinnately-compound leaf. Texture sub-leathery to stiff-papery, with indistinct veins. Young leaves glossy red.
Stems Twigs and branches 4-angled.
Flowers Small but conspicuous, with numerous white-tipped blue stamens and pink-tinged petals resting on top of creamy calyx lobes. Clustered in axillary cymose inflorescences arising directly from twigs. Unopened flower buds cream-coloured and nippled. Blooming occurs several times per year under local conditons.
Fruits Fleshy globose berries with persistent calyx lobes at base, small (6-9mm across), ripening from green to yellow to purplish-black, each containing 1 - 2 seeds. Seeds brown, with imprint of 5-rayed fan on one end, dispersed by fruit-eating birds. Flowering-cum-fruiting in wild specimens in Peninsular Malaysian lowland jungle lasts around 13 weeks each time.
Habitat Understorey layer of lowland and hill rainforests, open forests, in sandy soils, at sandstone gorges, rocky headlands and mountain slopes.
Associated Fauna It is pollinated by insects. Its fruits are eaten by birds.
Cultivation Prefers full sun to bright shade. Avoid locating plant in deep shade, as this tends to result in sparse leggy growth, and increase the plant's susceptibility to attack by sooty mould. Provide moist but well-drained soils. Propagate by seeds, stem cuttings and layerings.
Etymology Genus epithet 'Memecylon' derived from 'memaecylon' -- a name used by ancient Greek philosophers Dioscorides and Pliny to describe the red fruits of Arbutus unedo (Oriental Strawberry Tree) -- and used in allusion to the colour of the berries produced by members of this genus. Species epithet 'pauciflorum' means 'few flowers' -- an incongruous description since this species is able to exhibit profuse blooming.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Fruits)
Food (Fruit & Vegetable)
[Others]: Timber: Provides good-quality charcoal and fuelwood. 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. Timber is of good-quality, but economic utilization restricted by the plants' often poor form and relative scarcity. Food: Fruits edible when ripe.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is suitable as a shrub or small tree in parks, gardens and streetscapes for its brilliant blue flowers.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Fertile Loamy Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Moist Soils
Landscape Uses General, Hedge / Screening, Roadside Tree / Palm, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens
Thematic Landscaping Naturalistic Garden
SGMP Treatment
Species record last updated on: 14 October 2021.