Melastoma malabathricum

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Melastoma malabathricum
Melastoma malabathricum blossom.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Myrtales
Family: Melastomataceae
Genus: Melastoma
M. malabathricum
Binomial name
Melastoma malabathricum
  • Melastoma affine D.
  • Melastoma candidum D. Don
  • Melastoma cavaleriei H. Lév. & Vaniot
  • Melastoma esquirolii H. Lév.
  • Melastoma malabathricum var. normale (D. Don) R.C. Srivast.
  • Melastoma malabathricum subsp. normale (D. Don) K.Mey.
  • Melastoma normale D. Don
  • Melastoma polyanthum Blume [1]

Melastoma malabathricum, known also as Malabar melastome, Indian rhododendron, Singapore rhododendron, planter's rhododendron and senduduk, is a flowering plant in the family Melastomataceae. This plant is native to Indomalaya, Japan and Australia, and is usually found between 100 and 2,800 m on grasslands and sparse forests.[2] It has been used as a medicinal plant in certain parts of the world,[3] but has been declared a noxious weed in the United States.[4] M. malabathricum is a known hyperaccumulator of aluminium, and as such can be used for phytoremediation.[5]


The taxonomy of the genus Melastoma requires a complete revision.[6] Early genetics studies were published from 2001,[7] through to recently,[8] but a revision based on them has yet to be. In 2001 Karsten Meyer proposed a revision in which the species Melastoma affine and other species were subsumed within this species M. malabathricum.[9]

In Australia, currently most authorities do not accept this; instead the naturally occurring populations in Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland and north eastern New South Wales remain recognised as M. affine,[10][11] except by authorities in Queensland.[12][13] Australian populations which occur as weeds, having different flowers, for example in Warraroon Reserve, Lane Cove, Sydney, further south than the natural distribution of M. affine, are introduced plants of this M. malabathricum L. species.[14]


M. malabathricum grows wild on a wide range of soils, from sea-level up to an altitude of 3000 meters. It is an erect, free-flowering shrub that grows to a height of about 3 meters. The plant is branched, and has reddish stems that are covered with bristly scales and minute hairs. Its leaves are simple, elliptic lanceolate with a rounded base, are up to 7 cm long, and have three distinct main veins running from base to apex. Its flowers are borne on short terminal cymes 2 to 8 cm across. The flowers are pink, violet or mauve.[15] Its fruit is a berry, which when ripe breaks irregularly to expose its soft, dark blue pulp and orange seeds.[16]


  1. ^ "Melastoma malabathricum L. — the Plant List".
  2. ^ Melastoma malabathricum - Flora of China
  3. ^ Melastoma malabathricum (L.) Smith Ethnomedicinal Uses, Chemical Constituents, and Pharmacological Properties
  4. ^ "Melastoma malabathricum". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  5. ^ Distribution and chemical speciation of aluminum in the Al accumulator plant, Melastoma malabathricum L. By Toshihiro Watanabe, Mitsuru Osaki, Teruhiko Yoshihara and Toshiaki Tadano. In journal “Plant and Soil”. Ed. Springer Netherlands, Volume 201, Number 2 / April, 1998. pp. 165-173. ISSN 0032-079X (Print) 1573-5036 (Online). DOI 10.1023/A:1004341415878.
  6. ^ Whiffin, Trevor (1990). "Melastoma". Flora of Australia: Volume 18: Podostemaceae to Combretaceae. Flora of Australia series. CSIRO Publishing / Australian Biological Resources Study. pp. 247–248. ISBN 978-0-644-10472-2. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  7. ^ Clausing, G.; Renner, Susanne S. (2001). "Molecular phylogenetics of Melastomataceae and Memecylaceae: implications for character evolution". American Journal of Botany. 88 (3): 486–498. doi:10.2307/2657114. JSTOR 2657114. PMID 11250827. – see also the erratum.
  8. ^ Michelangeli, Fabián A.; Guimaraes, Paulo J. F.; Penneys, Darin S.; et al. (2013). "Phylogenetic relationships and distribution of New World Melastomeae (Melastomataceae)". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 171 (1): 38–60. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.2012.01295.x. ISSN 1095-8339.
  9. ^ Meyer, Karsten (2001). "Revision of the Southeast Asian genus Melastoma (Melastomataceae)". Blumea. 46 (2): 351–398.
  10. ^ "Vascular Plants". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), Integrated Botanical Information System (IBIS) database (listing by % wildcard matching of all taxa relevant to Australia). Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  11. ^ Wilson, Peter G. (July 2001). "Melastoma affine D.Don – New South Wales Flora Online". PlantNET - The Plant Information Network System. 2.0. Sydney, Australia: The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  12. ^ F.A.Zich; B.Hyland; T.Whiffen; R.A.Kerrigan. "Melastoma malabathricum_subsp. malabathricum". Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants (RFK8). Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  13. ^ Bostock, P.D.; Holland, A.E., eds. (2010). Census of the Queensland Flora 2010. Brisbane: Queensland Herbarium, Department of Environment and Resource Management. p. 101. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  14. ^ Hosking, J. R.; Conn, B. J.; Lepschi, B. J.; Barker, C. H. (2011). "Plant species first recognised as naturalised or naturalising for New South Wales in 2004 and 2005" (PDF). Cunninghamia. 12 (1): 85–114. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 April 2014. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  15. ^ "Melastoma malabathricum (Banks melastoma)". Retrieved 2021-11-01.
  16. ^ Samy, Joseph (2005). Herbs of Malaysia: An Introduction to the Medicinal, Culinary, Aromatic and Cosmetic Use of Herbs. Times Editions. pp. 144–145. ISBN 978-9833001798.

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