Polyscias scutellaria

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Polyscias scutellaria


Glabrous shrub or small tree, up to 6 m, with branches bearing spirally arranged leaves towards their ends. Leaves simple or trifoliolate, variable in size; Inflorescence a diffuse panicle; Petals 4-5, 2 mm long. Stamens 4-5, anthers oblong, 1 mm long. Ovary turbinate, c. 1 mm high, (2-)3-4-celled, styles at first erect, later recurved. Fruit subglobose, fleshy, c. 5 mm ø when dry.


East Malesia present, through the tropical Pacific present
Native country not properly known, possibly East Malesia; cultivated throughout the region, extending through the tropical Pacific.


The foliage is aromatic and is used to furnish perfume. Forms with variegated foliage are in cultivation. Used medicinally as a diuretic, against breast cancer, and to prevent baldness (Heyne, l.c.). Also for culinary purpose (Ochse & Bakh. l.c. 67).


This species is usually readily distinguished by its simple, orbicular, saucer-shaped leaves, but plants with some or all of their leaves trifoliolate occur. Stone () advanced evidence for uniting these trifoliolate plants with P. pinnata (= 6. P. cumingiana) while retaining the unifoliolate plants as a distinct species. Possibly all are forms of one polymorphous species complex, but here it is considered convenient to adhere to the view which unites all forms having orbicular usually bowl-shaped leaves under the concept P. Scutellaria.


Miq. 1866: Fl. Vit.: 116
Corner 1940: Ways. Trees: 156
Miq. 1912 – In: Exk. Fl. Java: 717
Miq. 1916 – In: Atlas: f. 697
Miq. 1923 – In: En. Philip.: 234
Philipson 1978 – In: Blumea: 169
Ochse & Bakh. 1931: Veg. D.E.I: 67: f. 39
Stone 1965 – In: Taxon: 284
Back. & Bakh.f. 1965 – In: Fl. Java: 169
Koord. 1898: Minah.: 490
Heyne 1927: Nutt. Pl.: 1209
Merr. 1917: Int. Rumph.: 409
Boerl. 1890 – In: Handl.: 641
Merr. 1923 – In: En. Philip.: 234
Miq. 1856 – In: Fl. Ind. Bat.: 766
Ochse & Bakh. 1931: Veg. D.E.I: 69: f. 39A.
Seem. 1866 – In: J. Bot.: 296
Span. 1841 – In: Linnaea: 208