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Memecylon pauciflorum


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


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
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Shrubby, Irregular
Maximum Height 3 m


Native Distribution Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia and Australia
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Coastal Forest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a woody shrub up to 3 m tall, with a slightly weeping habit.
Foliage Leaves are 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 are glossy red.
Stems Twigs and branches are 4-angled.
Flowers Flowers are small but conspicuous, with numerous white-tipped blue stamens and pink-tinged petals resting on top of creamy calyx lobes. They are clustered in axillary cymose inflorescences arising directly from twigs. Unopened flower buds are cream-coloured. Blooming occurs several times per year under local conditions.
Fruit Fruits are fleshy and globose, resembling berries. They have persistent calyx lobes at base. Each fruit is small (6-9mm across), ripening from green to yellow to purplish-black, and containing 1 - 2 seeds within. Seeds are 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 are observed to last for 13 weeks.
Habitat It is found in coastal forests, evergreen forests, and limestone forests up to 600 m altitude.
Associated Fauna It is pollinated by insects. Its fruits are eaten by birds.
Cultivation It 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 and stem cuttings.
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 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.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is suitable as a shrub in parks, gardens and streetscapes for its brilliant blue flowers.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers
Landscape Uses General, Hedge / Screening, Suitable for Roadsides, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Coastal
SGMP Treatment

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

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

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun, Semi-Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Slow
Rootzone Tolerance Fertile Loamy Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Saline Soils / Salt Spray
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth, Glossy / Shiny, Papery, Leathery
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Red
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, Oblong)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute, Obtuse
Foliar Base Cuneate
Typical Foliar Area Notophyll ( 20.25cm2 - 45 cm2 )

Non - Foliar and Storage

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

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Blue
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary
Flower Symmetry Radial
Inflorescence Type Umbel
Flowering Habit Polycarpic
Flowering Period Remarks Several times per year

Fruit, Seed and Spore

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

Image Repository



Master ID 29089
Species ID 3402
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: 05 October 2022.