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Memecylon oleifolium Blume

Family Name: Melastomataceae
Synonyms: Memecylon micranthum, Memecylon luteolum, Memecylon lampongum, Memecylon horsfieldii, Memecylon oleaefolium, Memecylon ambiguum
Common Name: Nipis Kulit Besar, Delek Putih, Obah, Geah Anda, Pundah
Full Sun: 6-8h Semi-Shade Moderate Water Bird-Attracting Native to Singapore Coastal Ornamental Flowers 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))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Shrubby, Open
Maximum Height 12 m to 16 m


Native Distribution Indochina, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Secondary Rainforest, Monsoon Forest), Shoreline (Mangrove Forest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Endangered (EN))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Big shrub or small shrubby tree, up to 16 m tall.
Foliage Leaves opposite, sub-leathery, glossy or dull, sessile (stalkless) with caudate (tail-like) tip. Lateral and marginal veins faint. Young leaves glossy purplish-red, maturing to maroon-red, brownish and then green.
Flowers Small (3mm across), purplish-blue, sweetly-scented, clustered into small panicle inflorescences arising directly from twigs at leaf axils. Flower buds lavender.
Fruits Small fleshy berries (6mm across) with persistent calyx at base, borne in small axillary bunches, ripening from green to blue, eaten by birds. Flowering-cum-fruiting duration generally lasts 13 weeks per episode for wild specimens in Malaysian lowland forests.
Habitat Occurs in understorey of lowland primary rainforests, hill forests, alluvial sites, in sandy to rocky soils on hill ridges, in mangrove forests, or as pre-disturbance remnant in secondary forests.
Similar Memecylon edule (Delek Air) has lookalike blue flowers, but can be differentiated by its blunter acute leaves.
Cultivation Takes full sun to bright shade. Tolerant of waterlogging and saline soils. If grown as tree, prune periodically and remove water shoots from trunk for better form. Propagate by stem-cuttings, air-layering or seeds.
Etymology Genus epithet 'Memecylon' derived from 'memaecylon' -- as used by ancient Greek philosophers Dioscorides and Pliny to describe the red fruits of Arbutus unedo (Oriental Strawberry Tree) -- alluding to the pink to reddish berries often produced by members of the 'Memecylon' genus. Species epithet 'oleifolium' means 'olive-like leaves', a reference to the leaf shape which resemble that from the Olea (Olive) genus.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Fruits)
Timber & Products ( Gives 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. Wood is of good quality, but economic utilization limited by the trees' often poor form and relative scarcity.)

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Well-Drained Soils
Landscape Uses Coastal, General, Parks & Gardens, Beachfront / Shoreline

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Bird Attracting
Seed or Spore Dispersal Biotic (Fauna) (Birds)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun, Semi-Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Slow
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting, Air-Layering


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth, Glossy / Shiny, Leathery
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Oval, Elliptical)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Caudate
Foliar Base Cuneate

Non - Foliar and Storage

Trunk Type (Non Palm) Woody
Stem Type & Modification Woody

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Blue, White
Inflorescence Type Panicle
Flowering Period A Few Times Yearly

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Blue
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Fleshy Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Berry

Image Repository



Master ID 29399
Species ID 3708
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: 14 October 2021.