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Ardisia crenata


Ardisia crenata Sims

Family Name: Primulaceae
Synonyms: Ardisia crenulata
Common Name: Coral Berry, Coral Bush, Coral Ardisia, Spiceberry, Hen's Eyes, Mata Itik, Mata Ayam, 朱砂根, 大罗伞


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, Tree (Shrubby (1m-5m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Shrubby
Maximum Height 1.5 m to 3 m


Native Distribution From India to Indochina to Japan, and western Malesia to the Philippines (including Singapore)
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Secondary Rainforest, Coastal Forest, Freshwater Swamp Forest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Critically Endangered (CR))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is usually a shrub or treelet up to 3.0 m tall.
Foliage Its alternate, stalked leaves have thinly leathery leaf blades that are oval or narrowly lance-shaped, or narrowly drop-shaped, 5–60 by 1.9–4 cm, and the margins are crenate, with distinctly scalloped edges.
Flowers Its flowering clusters are stalkless or stalked, and found at the ends of the twigs. Its stalked flowers are white or rarely pinkish, and about 8.5 mm wide, with pointed anthers.
Fruit Its round fruits are shiny, bright-red, and 5–8 mm wide.
Habitat It grows in open country, secondary forests, villages, and along seashores, up to 200 m altitude.
Associated Fauna Its flowers are insect-pollinated. The fruits are probably eaten by birds.
Cultivation It can be propagated by seed, stem cuttings and leaf cuttings.
Etymology Greek ardis, a point, referring to the pointed anthers of the plant; Latin crenata, cut in rounded scallops, referring to the shape of the margins of the leaf blades 
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts : Edible Fruits, Edible Leaves
Food (Fruit or Vegetable): The reportedly sweet and small fruits are edible. The leaves are also taken as vegetable in salads. Young shoots eaten as ulam with sambal belachan.
Medicinal: Traditional Medicinal Uses
In Asia countries like China, the plant is used traditionally to overcome asthma, tonsillitis, tooth-ache, trauma, arthralgia, respiratory tract infections. The juice derived from the plant or crushed leaves are used internally against fever, cough and diarrhoea. In Thailand, the roots are used in combination with other medicinal plants to curb menstrual pain. <1>

It is important to note that some therapeutic effects from traditional medicinal uses of plants are not currently supported or verified by scientific research.
Others: This shrub or treelet is cultivated in pots as an auspicious plant for sale during the Lunar New Year. Its shiny, bright-red fruits signify vigour and vitality, and prosperity: qualities that the Chinese value.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping This shrub or treelet may be able to tolerate the conditions of roadsides. It is cultivated in gardens and parks for its attractive, shiny, bright-red fruits.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage, Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Fruits
Landscape Uses Interiorscape/ Indoor Plant, Flowerbed / Border, Suitable for Bonsai, Container Planting, General, Suitable for Roadsides, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Coastal, Hedge / Screening
Thematic Landscaping Economic Garden, Naturalistic Garden

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 Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Fertile Loamy Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Moist Soils
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Propagation Method Stem Cutting (Semi-Hardwood), Seed, Leaf Cutting


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Glossy / Shiny, Leathery, Thin
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Elliptical, Lanceolate)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Crenate

Non - Foliar and Storage

Stem Type & Modification Herbaceous
Root Type Underground (Fibrous Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Pink
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary
Flower Symmetry Radial
Individual Flower Shape Stellate / Star-shaped
Inflorescence Type Raceme
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Red
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type Fleshy Fruit , Drupe


References <1> Lim, T.K. (2012). Edible Medicinal and Non-Medicinal Plant vol. 2, Fruits. pp. 544-548. Netherland: Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Image Repository



Master ID 29127
Species ID 3436
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: 17 October 2023.