Scyphiphora is a monotypic genus of flowering plants in the Rubiaceae family. It is the only genus in the tribe Scyphiphoreae. The genus contains only one species, viz. Scyphiphora hydrophyllacea, which has a large distribution range from Madagascar, to tropical Asia and the western Pacific. It is a shrub of about 3 m (10 ft) and is often found in mangrove forests or sandy beaches. Its local common names include chengam in Malaysia, ngam in Thailand, nila or sagasa in the Philippines, and côi in Vietnam.
Its leaves are opposite. The leaf blades are broad and drop-shaped. Its terminal buds and young leaves are coated with a varnish-like substance. The flowers are tubular and have four white lobes that are tinged pink. They are arranged in dense clusters. The fruits are elliptic and deeply ridged, becoming light brown and buoyant when ripe.
Manila, the capital city of the Philippines, derives its name from the nila because the shores of Manila Bay were once teeming with this shrub. The place was called "Maynila", which is Tagalog for "There is nila". The shrub's name in turn was probably derived from the Sanskrit word "nila" (नील), which means "indigo tree."
- "Search results for Scyphiphora". The Plant List. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
- Ambeth Ocampo (June 25, 2008), "Looking Back: Pre-Spanish Manila", Philippine Daily Inquirer, retrieved 2008-09-09
- Studies on the chemical constituents of Scyphiphora hydrophyllacea (II). (Article in Chinese), Tao SH1, Gao GC, Qi SH, Li QX and Zhang S, Zhong Yao Cai., May 2009, volume 32, issue 5, pages 712-714, PMID 19771844
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