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Margaritaria indica


Margaritaria indica (Dalzell) Airy Shaw

Family Name: Phyllanthaceae
Common Name: 蓝子木

Margaritaria indica is a tree, up to 30 m tall, with single or multiple trunks. The bark peels irregularly, revealing new barks in shades of orange-brown. Fruit is almost globular, turns from green to brown and split into 3 parts as it matures.


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Species Summary

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants)
Plant Growth Form Tree
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 30 m


Native Distribution India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, northern Vietnam, southern China, Taiwan, across Malesia to Australia.
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Critically Endangered (CR))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a tree, up to 30 m tall, with single or multiple trunks. Bark peels irregularly revealing new barks in shades of orange-brown.
Foliage Leaves are papery (chartaceous), elliptic to obovate (3 – 17 cm long and 1.8 – 8.3 cm wide) and in alternate arrangement. Leaves are green on the upper surface and pale green on the lower surface. There are 6 – 12 pairs of secondary veins which are visible on both sides of the leaves. They form faint loops towards the leaf margin. Leaf tip is acute to apiculate while leaf base is cuneate to rounded. Petiole is short (0.35 – 1.1 cm long) and is channelled on the upper surface. Stipules are triangular to lanceolate (0.2 to 0.45 cm long), falling off early and leaving a semi-circular stipular scar on the twig. Leaves dry characteristically dark brown.
Flowers Flowers are dioecious where the male and female flowers are borne on separate individuals. Male flowers are borne in clusters of 2 – 28 on flower stalks (up to 7 mm long).  Each male flower comprises of a large flattened disc, stamens, filament (0.8 – 1.5 mm long) and oblong anthers. Female flowers are borne in clusters of 1 – 7, on flower stalks (up to 2.2cm long). Each female flower comprises of a disc (1.8 – 2.6 mm) and stigma (1.5 – 2 mm long) which is bifid at tip.
Fruit Fruit is an almost globular (0.9 – 1.2 cm diameter) capsule produced singly or in pairs. The fruit turns from green to brown and split into 3 parts as it matures. Seed is triangular (3.5 – 5 mm long and 2.8 – 4 mm wide) with a thin translucent bluish purple sarcotesta.
Ethnobotanical Uses Cultural / Religious: Heritage Trees : There is currently one individual of Margaritaria indica listed as a Heritage Tree in Singapore. It can be found near Yale-NUS College. To find out more about these trees, please visit the Heritage Tree Register.

Landscaping Features

Landscape Uses Parks & Gardens

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate


Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Papery
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate


References Baker, C. . 2001. Margaritaria (Euphorbiaceae) in Malesia. Blumea. 46. 505-512

Low, Y.W, Leong, P.K.F, Tee, S.P, Singh, R., Tay, M.L.C and Wong, K.M. 2014. Margaritaria (Phyllanthaceae), a new generic record for the Singapore flora. Gardens' Bulletin Singapore . 66. 1. 47-56

Image Repository



Master ID 32379
Species ID 6790
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: 06 May 2024.