Tree, up to 15 m high, dbh up to 30 cm, or shrub. Leaves paripinnate, 3—5(—13)-jugate, 20-45 cm (to more than 1 m long), glabrous; Inflorescence often drooping, in vivo often purple to reddish brown, apparently mostly unisexual, though male and female ones on the same trees; Flowers in vivo dark wine-red to purple. Sepals obovate-orbicular, 2.5-4 by 2-3 mm, outer slightly smaller than inner, inner partly petaloid with crenulate margin, all sparsely glandular-ciliolate. Petals sessile (in L. edulis claw 0.5 mm), sparsely, partly glandular, ciliolate, glabrous or rarely sparsely appressed short-hairy outside in the basal half (L. edulis)', blade suborbicu-lar, up to 4 by 3 mm (L. edulis 2 by 2.5 mm), scale erect, slightly hood-shaped, ⅓-1/5 as long as blade, glabrous (L. edulis densely ciliolate). Stamens 8; Ovary ellipsoid, 3- (or 4-)celled, pale mauve; Fruits shortly stipitate, trigonous-obovoiid, 2.5-4 by 2.2-3 cm, apiculate, apparently dark brownish purple to nearly black when ripe, pulp (rather thick, fleshy, white. Seeds ellipsoid, up to 2.5 by 1.5 cm, hilum rhomboid, 6 by 5 mm.
Asia-Tropical: Borneo present; Jawa (Jawa present); Malaya (Peninsular Malaysia present), Johore present
Malesia: Malay Peninsula (Johore one collection), Borneo, and Java (probably only naturalized).
The fruits and possibly also the seeds are eaten; in Sumatra, Java, and Borneo sometimes grown as a fruit tree. See .
Lepisanthes alata is as a whole a rather unilorm species. Only a few specimens from Borneo deviate considerably from the mean in some cha racters. Among these Endert 1702 and Jaheri 169 3 are both characterized by rather large (15-23 by 5-7.5 cm), relatively wide (index c. 3), distinctly obovate leaflets with rather spaced nerves (1.5-2 cm apart). Hotta 12660 from Brunei differs in its many-jugate leaf (13 pairs of leaflets), petiole and rachis rounded or flat above, very large stipules (8.5 by 5 cm), and very long and narrow leaflets (33 by 2.2 cm, index c.14). Orolfo 1319 from Sabah, the type of Otophora edulis, differs in its rather narrow leaflets (index 8) with nearly perpendicular nerves, petals which are distinctly clawed and are hairy outside and on the scale, and especially in its large fruits (c. 4 by 3 cm) with a thick, fleshy pulp (the wall of the ovary is already exceptionally thick). However, one should keep in mind that fleshy fruits are nearly always collected unripe and Orolfo 1319 may be exceptional in this respect; furthermore, from the label it is not clear whether it was taken from a wild specimen or possibly some cultivar.