Lepisanthes fruticosa

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Lepisanthes fruticosa


Shrub or tree, 1.5-10(-15) m high, dbh 2-15 cm. Leaves without or sometimes with a rather strongly reduced terminal leaflet, 1-8(-14 1-jugate, 25 cm to more than 1 m long, mostly glabrous; Inflorescences (terminal or) axillary to rami- or cauliflorous, solitary or (if cauliflorous) sometimes some together, simple or branched either with some to several ascending long branches from near the base or all over and pyramidal, up to 75 cm long, glabrous; Flowers scentless. Sepals 4-5, outer 2 sometimes smaller, elliptic, orbicular, or obovate, 2-4 by 1.5-3 mm, dark red (rarely yellow to white), margin, especially of the inner ones, petaloid, crenulate to fimbriate-ciliolate, glabrous or very sparsely glandular-ciliolate. Petals 4-5, short-clawed, blade broad-ovate or elliptic to obovate, 1.5 -3 by 1-2 mm, dark red (rarely yellow to white), glabrous or rarely claw ciliate or outside hairy; Stamens 5-8; Ovary 2-or 3(-4)-celled, glabrous; Fruits ovoid, ellipsoid, subglobular, or transversely ellipsoid, rarely distinctly lobed, 1-3 by 0.6-2 by 0.5-2 cm (fresh up to 4 cm in diam.), apparently white when young, dark red to blackish when ripe; Seeds mostly 2, subglobular to semi-ellipsoid, flattened on the axial side, 8-23 by 6-18 by 4-18 mm, hilum orbicular to lanceolate, up to 6 by 3-4 mm.


Ambon present, Asia-Tropical: Jawa (Jawa present); Lesser Sunda Is. present; Malaya (Peninsular Malaysia present); Maluku (Maluku present); Philippines (Philippines present); Sulawesi (Sulawesi present); Sumatera (Sumatera present); Thailand (Thailand present), Bacan present, Central Java present, Dompo I. near Sumbawa present, Indragiri present, Lower Burma present, Semarang and Solo present, Talaud present, Ternate present, not known from the southern part present
Indo-China, Lower Burma, Thailand, and Malesia: Sumatra (Indragiri, one collection), Malay Peninsula, Borneo (not known from the southern part), Java (only Central Java, few collections, Semarang and Solo, possibly not indigenous), Philippines, Celebes, Lesser Sunda Islands (Dompo I. near Sumbawa: one old collection, wild?), Moluccas (Talaud, Ternate, Bacan, Ambon).


In Malaya, the roots are medicinally used. The wood is hard, durable, and heavy and is used for house-building in Malacca. Sometimes cultivated because of its edible fruits. See .


1. Lepisanthes fruticosa is a rather variable species. Though it is impossible to subdivide it into well delimited infraspecific taxa, often some races are locally clearly distinguishable.
In the Malay Peninsula there are two races: ' erythrocalyx', characterized by distinctly stalked leaflets, 5-merous flowers, and completely 3-celled fruits; and 'resecta (including also O. sessilis), with (sub)sessile leaflets, 4-merous flowers, and incompletely 2-celled fruits.
In Borneo there are three main races, 'acuminata', 'fruticosa', and 'glandulosa', the latter having 2 ecotypes. Race 'acuminata' is characterized by acute leaflets, rami- or cauliflorous inflorescences, 5-merous flowers, completely 3-celled fruits; it is restricted to the Kapuas basin. Race 'fruticosa' has obtuse leaflets, axillary or sometimes terminal inflorescences, 4-merous flowers, and very incompletely 2-celled fruits; it is apparently mostly restricted to N Borneo. Race 'glandulosa' is characterized by obtuse leaflets, axillary and rami-or cauliflorous inflorescences, 5-merous flowers, densely short-hairy anthers, and very incompletely 2-celled fruits. The lowland form is rather widespread, a mountain form, mainly restricted to Mt Kinabalu, differs in the more slender petiole and rachis (the latter may be narrowly winged), smaller and more caducous pseudo-stipules, narrower leaflets with a longer attenuate apex, and the midrib more often rounded beneath.
Outside Borneo, 'fruticosa' in the same strict sense is known from Java and the Lesser Sunda Islands, and it is identical with some material from the Philippines, Celebes, and the Moluccas. In the Philippines and E Malesia, however, it seems impossible to distinguish between races, as several characters seem to vary independently. This is true not only of the vegetative parts, but the inflorescences may be axillary, rami-, or cauliflorous, the flowers are mostly 4-merous, but 5-merous flowers may be found in the same inflorescences, and both flower types have a 2-celled, but sometimes a 3-celled pistil.
2. Meijer 4238, the only collection known from Sumatra, seems to belong to the present species, but differs mainly by the narrow (1-1.5 mm wide) wings along petiole and rachis. Sarawak For. Dept. S 18404 is distinctive in its completely 3-merous flowers and glandular pitted warts on both surfaces of the leaflets; furthermore, it strongly resembles 'acuminata' in particular and that is why it was included here. Endert 2922 (NE Borneo), apparently also the present species, is especially remarkable because of its very large (12 by 12 cm), coriaceous pseudo-stipules.


Radlk. 1932 – In: Engl., Pflanzenr. 98. p 759
Craib 1926 – In: Fl. Siam. Enum. p 328
Roxb. 1832: Fl. Ind., ed. Carey. p 283
Koord. & Valeton 1903 – In: Bijdr. Booms. Java. p 174
Backer 1911: Schoolfl. Java. p 264
Blume 1923 – In: Enum. Philipp. Flow. Pl. p 500
Ridley 1922 – In: Fl. Malay Penins. p 495
Hend. 1928 – In: Gard. Bull. Str. Settl. p 243
Blume 1918: Sp. Blanc. p 239
Radlk. 1932 – In: Engl., Pflanzenr. 98. p 769
Merr. 1912: Fl. Manila. p 305
Radlk. inEngL 1934 – In: Pflanzenr. p 1494
Radlk. 1932 – In: Engl., Pflanzenr. 98. p 763
Radlk. 1878 – In: Sitzungsber. Math.-Phys. Cl. Königl. Bayer. Akad. Wiss. München. p 329
Radlk. 1932 – In: Engl., Pflanzenr. 98. p 766
Backer & Bakh. f. 1965 – In: Fl. Java. p 135
Radlk. 1932 – In: Engl., Pflanzenr. 98. p 763
Blume 1879: Sapind. Holl.-Ind. p 31
Blanco 1878 – In: Fl. Filip., ed. 3. p 14