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Canthiumera robusta


Canthiumera robusta K.M.Wong & X.Y.Ng

Family Name: Rubiaceae
Synonyms: Canthium glabrum auct. non Blume
Common Name: Green Coffee

Canthiumera robusta or Green Coffee is a tree that grows to 25 m tall. It has egg-shaped leaves and yellowish-green, star-like flowers borne in clusters. The fruit is a green, bluish to purplish coloured drupe, each contains pyrenes which are single-seeded, keel-like resembling the shape of a chicken breast bone.


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names
Species Summary

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Tree (Medium (16m-30m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Irregular
Maximum Height 25 m


Native Distribution Peninsular Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Anambas Islands, Borneo and Singapore.
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Mountain, Secondary Rainforest, Freshwater Swamp Forest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Endangered (EN))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is an evergreen tree up to 25 m tall, with a main stem, and lateral-growing branches. A pale pink or reddish, watery gum is exuded when bruised.
Foliage Leaves are leathery, egg-shaped to elliptic, 7–18 cm long by 3–9 cm wide, tapering broadly to the tips, and with rounded bases.
Flowers Flowers are star-like, yellowish-green coloured, about 1 cm wide, and borne in clusters from the leaf axils.
Fruits Its 4-ridged fruits are green, bluish to purplish when ripe, and up to 3.2 by 2.5 cm. They are found singly or a few in a cluster. Each contains pyrenes (pit) resembling the shape of a chicken breast bone, flattened on one side, keeled on the other, up to 2.5 cm long.
Habitat Occurs in lowland forest, freshwater swamp forest and coastal areas.
Associated Fauna Its seeds are dispersed by birds.
Taxonomy Previous name of Canthium glabrum auct. non Blume misused in Singapore. Current name of Canthiumera robusta K.M.Wong & X.Y.Ng is applicable to wild plants in Singapore but not necessarily to wild plants elsewhere or to cultivated plants originating elsewhere.
Cultivation It can be propagated by seed.
Etymology Latin Canthiumera is composed of Canthium, the genus which it was confused with and the Latin umerus, which means shoulder, referring to the prominent lateral extensions in the pyrene. Latin robusta, is robust which refers to the more robust fruit and pyrene size compared to other Canthiumera species.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping The plant has horticultural potential as a park tree.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Form
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Moist Soils, Waterlogged Soils (Drains Site), Well-Drained Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils
Landscape Uses Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Riverine

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

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

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun, Semi-Shade
Water Preference Lots of Water, Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Propagation Method Seed


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Leathery
Foliar Modification Stipule
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Ovate, Elliptical)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute, Cuspidate
Foliar Base Cuneate, Rounded / Obtuse

Non - Foliar and Storage

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

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower & Plant Sexuality 2 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Yellow / Golden, Green
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary
Flower Symmetry Radial
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Green - Bluish Green
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Fleshy Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Non-Accessory Fruit


References Wong, K.M., Turner, I.M. Turner, Wang, R.J., Harwood, R., Seah, W.W., Ng, X.Y., Lim, R.C.J., Lua, H.K. & Mahyuni, R. (2019). Rubiaceae. Flora of Singapore, vol. 13, pp. 1-358. Singapore: Singapore Botanic Gardens, National Parks Board. 

Image Repository



Master ID 30807
Species ID 5162
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: 29 November 2022.