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Memecylon cantleyi Ridl.

Family Name: Melastomataceae
Synonyms: Memecylon steenisii, Memecylon dissitum
Common Name: Cantley's Memecylon
Semi Shade Moderate Water Bird-Attracting Plant Native to Singapore Ornamental Flowers Shrub 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
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Irregular
Maximum Height 3 m to 15 m


Native Distribution Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Critically Endangered (CR))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a shrub up to 3 m tall, or small tree up to 15 m tall.
Trunk Bark thin, smooth, pale grey-tan.
Foliage Its opposite, stalked leaves have leathery leaf blades that are lance- to egg-shaped, and 8–20 by 3–7.5 cm, with scarcely visible venation, and prolonged tips.
Flowers Its flowering clusters are 1.5–2.5 cm long, and found at the twigs. Each shoot bears up to 10 flowers that are 3–4 mm wide, with four purplish-pink petals.
Fruits Its roundish fruits are 10 mm-wide berries that ripen dark purple.
Others - Plant Morphology Probably the native Memecylon species most threatened with extinction, currently known in Singapore from just 2 wild specimens growing within the Singapore Botanic Gardens' Rainforest. These specimens may have descended from the holotype specimen collected from the same area in 1907 by British botanist and former director of the Gardens, Henry Nicholas Ridley (1855-1956), based on which the species was first described to science.
Habitat It grows in the understory of lowland rainforests. It occurs locally in Singapore Botanic Gardens (Rainforest).
Associated Fauna Its flowers are insect-pollinated. Its fruits are eaten by birds.
Cultivation Tolerant of partial shade and semi-montane temperatures. Propagate by seeds and tissue culture.
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 'cantleyi' named after Scotsman Nathaniel Cantley (d. 1888), the Kew-trained superintendent of the Singapore Botanic Gardens from 1880-1888.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is suitable for planting in parks for its ornamental flowers and fruits.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Fruits
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Fertile Loamy Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Moist Soils
Landscape Uses General, Parks & Gardens
Thematic Landscaping Naturalistic Garden
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 Semi-Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Propagation Method Seed, Tissue Culture


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage 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 Acuminate
Foliar Base Acute
Typical Foliar Area Mesophyll ( 45cm2 - 182.25 cm2 )

Non - Foliar and Storage

Trunk Type (Non Palm) Woody
Bark Colour(s) Grey-tan
Stem Type & Modification Woody
Root Type Underground (Tap Root, Fibrous Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Blue, Pink, Purple, White
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary
Flower Symmetry Radial
Inflorescence Type Umbel
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

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

Image Repository



Master ID 29686
Species ID 3995
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: 15 February 2022.