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Litsea elliptica


Litsea elliptica Blume

Family Name: Lauraceae
Synonyms: Litsea petiolata Hook. f.
Common Name: Medang, Perawas


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 (Big (>30m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Irregular
Maximum Height 45 m


Native Distribution From Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Java, Borneo, through to New Guinea.
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Secondary Rainforest, Freshwater Swamp Forest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Least Concern (LC))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a buttressed tree up to 45 m tall. Its grey-brown bark is smooth and has lenticels. Its pinkish inner bark has a strong spicy smell.
Foliage Its alternate, stalked leaves have thinly leathery leaf blades that are elliptic to narrowly drop-shaped and about 6–14 by 2–6.5 cm. Its midribs and secondary leaf veins are sunken on the upper surface of the leaf blade. Its ladder-like tertiary leaf veins are parallel to each other.
Flowers Its flowering clusters arise from the leaf axils or the bare twigs. Its flower petals are covered with hair.
Fruit Its spherical to elliptic fruits are up to 7 mm across, ripening red, with a cup on top.
Habitat It grows mainly at lowland forests. It occurs locally in Central Catchment Nature Reserve, Changi, Nee Soon Swamp Forest, along Old Upper Thomson Road, Pulau Tekong, and Pulau Ubin.
Associated Fauna Its flowers are insect-pollinated. Its fruits are eaten by birds and small mammals.
Cultivation It can be propagated by seed.
Etymology Litsea, from the Chinese names ‘li’ and ‘tse’, which mean little plum; Latin elliptica, elliptic, alluding to the shape of the plant’s leaf blade
Ethnobotanical Uses Medicinal: Its aromatic bark has medicinal properties and is used as a native medicine.
Cultural / Religious: Heritage Tree :                                                                                         There is currently one individual of Litsea elliptica listed as a Heritage Tree in Singapore. It can be found on Sentosa. To find out more about this tree, please visit the Heritage Tree Register.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It may be suitable for parks.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Fruits
Landscape Uses General, Roadside Tree / Palm, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Reforestation

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 Moderate Water
Rootzone Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils
Propagation Method Seed


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

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Cream / Off-White, White, Yellow / Golden
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Green
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit

Image Repository



Master ID 31230
Species ID 5625
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: 20 August 2021.