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Timonius finlaysonianus


Timonius finlaysonianus (Wall. ex G.Don) Hook.f.

Family Name: Rubiaceae
Synonyms: Timonius compressicaulis (Miq.) Boerl., Timonius jambosella Thwaites var. finlaysonianus (Wall. ex G.Don) Hook.f.
Common Name: Mengkudu Laut

Timonius finlaysonianus or Mengkudu Laut is a shrub to tree native to Singapore. Growing to 7 m tall, it produce leaves with triangular stipules found on opposite sides of the axils. Flowers are dioecious, white, tubular, 5 - 8 lobed, measuring 3 - 3.5 mm long. Male flowers are clustered in groups of 7 or more while the female flowers are produced singly. The fruit is round, 10-14 lobed consist of many pyrenes (pits).


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Genus Epithet
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Species Summary

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Shrub, Tree (Small (6m-15m))
Maximum Height 7 m


Native Distribution Peninsular Malaysia and adjacent islands, Sumatra, Java and the Philippines and Singapore
Native Habitat Terrestrial, Shoreline (Coastal Cliff, Mangrove Forest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Critically Endangered (CR))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a shrub to small tree with smooth, grey-brown bark, growing to 7 m tall.
Foliage Leaves are slightly leathery, elliptic to spoon-shaped measuring 4 - 18 cm long, 2-8 cm wide. Scattered short hairs can be found along the main veins below. The leaves are held on a short petiole of 2 - 5 mm long. Stipules can be found at the axils, on opposite sides of each pair of leaves.
Flowers Flowers are dioecious where the female and male flowers are produced on separate individuals, found along the axils. They are white, tubular, 3-3.5 mm long, petals are densely covered in white short-hairs on the outside. Male flowers are 5-lobed, borne in clusters of 7 or more. Female flowers have 6-8 lobes, produced singly, sitting on a bulbous floral cup of 2mm wide.
Fruit The fruit is round, with 10 - 14 lobes measuring 7 - 10 mm wide, consist of 20 - 60 elliptic pyrenes (pits), each pyrene with 1 seed.
Habitat Occurs commonly at sea-shores, strand forest, also on rocky cliffs and back mangroves. <1>
Cultivation It can be propagated by seed. The plant thrives under full sun to semi shade. Despite its distribution within sea-shores habitats, it does not show much tolerance to salt spray.
Etymology Latin Timonius, from an Amboina plant name, Timor; Latin finlaysonianus, commemorating Dr. Geroge Finlayson (1790–1823), a surgeon and ardent naturalist

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Bird-Attracting

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun, Semi-Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Well-Drained Soils


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

Non - Foliar and Storage

Stem Type & Modification Woody
Root Type Underground

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Unisexual Flowers , Dioecious
Flower Colour(s) White
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence, Solitary
Flower Location Axillary
Flower Symmetry Radial
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type Fleshy Fruit , Pome (hypanthium)


References <1> Wong, K.M. et al. (2019). Rubiaceae. Flora of Singapore, vol 13. pp. 312-313. Singapore: Singapore Botanic Gardens, National Parks Board.

Image Repository



Master ID 33009
Species ID 7423
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: 08 May 2024.