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Myristica elliptica


Myristica elliptica Wall. ex Hook.f. & Thoms.

Family Name: Myristicaceae
Synonyms: Myristica hackenbergii Diels
Common Name: Mempatoh, Pala Hutan, Pianggu, Samban, Sengkit


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 (Medium (16m-30m), Small (6m-15m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Irregular
Maximum Height 7 m to 25 m


Native Distribution Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia, and Borne
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Freshwater Swamp Forest, Riverine)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Critically Endangered (CR))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a tree 7–25 m tall, often with stilt roots or flying buttresses up to 1.2 m high.
Roots Stilt roots or flying buttresses up to 1.2 m high.
Foliage Its spirally arranged, stalked leaves have papery leaf blades that are oval or oblong, yellowish or olive-green above, with a pointed tip, greyish or pale olive-green below, covered with scattered, greyish or pale brown hairs 0.1 mm long, becoming hairless with age, with midrib flat or slightly raised above, and have 8–13 pairs of lateral veins that are flat or slightly raised above and distinct below.
Flowers The plant is dioecious, producing male or female flowers on different plants. Its flowers are cream-white or reddish-yellow, sparsely covered with pale hairs 0.1 mm long, fragrant when crushed, and are arranged among the leaves in stalked flowering clusters that are sparsely covered with pale hairs 0.1 mm long. Its male flowering clusters are 1–2.5 by 1–1.5 cm and 3–5-flowered. Its female flowering clusters are 1–2.5 by 1–1.5 cm and 1–3-flowered.
Fruit Its fruit is ovoid or ellipsoid-oblong, greenish-yellow turning bright orange, 4.5–7.5 by 2.5–4 cm, covered with hairs 0.1 mm long and becoming hairless with age, with a 5-mm thick fruit wall, and arranged in a cluster of 1-2 fruits. Its seeds are ellipsoid, olive-brown, 4–5 cm long, covered with an aril, and not variegated.
Habitat It grows in freshwater peat swamp forests, kerangas, riverine forests, Dryobalanops rappa forests, and ridge forests, up to 200 m altitude.
Associated Fauna Its flowers are insect-pollinated.
Cultivation It can be propagated by seed.
Etymology Greek myristica, myrrh-fragrant, referring to true nutmeg, Myristica fragrans; Greek elliptica, elliptic, referring to the shape of the leaf blade
Ethnobotanical Uses Timber & Products: The timber has been reported to be good.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is suitable for parks, especially in waterlogged areas.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Fruits, Ornamental Form
Landscape Uses Parks & Gardens, Riverine

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

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
Rootzone Tolerance Moist Soils, Waterlogged Soils (Drains Site)
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Propagation Method Seed


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Green
Young Flush Texture(s) Papery
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Oval, Oblong)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire

Floral (Angiosperm)

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

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Orange
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type Dehiscent Dry Fruit , Capsule

Image Repository



Master ID 31887
Species ID 6288
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.