Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Melastoma cyanoides Sm.

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flower. © Barry Jago
Leaves and Flowers. © CSIRO
Fruit, two views and cross section. © W. T. Cooper
Leaves and fruit. © Barry Jago
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO

Smith, J.E. (1819) Cycl. 23: 56-57. Type: Indonesia, Ambon, Smith s.n., holo: ?.

Common name

Otanthera; Bush Strawberries


Usually flowers and fruits as a shrub about 1-2 m tall.


Leaf blades about 6.5-13 x 2.5-4.5 cm. Petiole grooved on the upper surface. Both the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf blade clothed in simple, +/- prostrate hairs. Each leaf with a midrib and two major longitudinal veins plus two other longitudinal veins which could nearly be regarded as intramarginal veins. All major veins depressed on the upper surface. Twigs +/- 4-angled in transverse section. Large hairs on the twigs between the petiole bases resemble stipules.


Hypanthium about 5-6 x 4-5 mm, clothed in persistent hairs which are arranged in clumps of about 2-3 hairs. Calyx lobes about 3-4 x 0.5 mm. Stamens ten, +/- uniform, each with a yellow gland at the base of the anther. Anthers linear, about 2-3 mm long, opening by a terminal pore. Ovary densely pubescent at the apex.


Fruits globular, about 6-7 mm diam. with a pit at the apex. Outer fruit surface tuberculate with about 2-3 hairs arising from each projection. Seeds small, about 0.5 x 0.5 mm, numerous, cochleate, testa tuberculate. Embryo U-shaped, cotyledons about as wide as the radicle.


Cotyledons small, +/- orbicular, about 1-1.5 mm diam., petioles rather wide. Stem 4-angled above the cotyledons. First pair of leaves opposite and hairy. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade with a midrib and two major longitudinal veins plus two other longitudinal veins which could nearly be regarded as intramarginal veins. Upper and lower leaf surfaces clothed in pale prostrate hairs. Stipules (or stipule-like structures) filiform, about 3 mm long. Stem hairy. Seed germination time 24 to 83 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP and NEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 700 m. Grows along roads and in disturbed areas in well developed lowland and upland rain forest. Also occurs in Malesia.

Otanthera cyanoides (Sm.) Triana, Transactions Linnean Society of London 28: 55(1871). Otanthera queenslandica Domin, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 1032(1928), Type: Queensland, Harveys Creek & Russell River, 1910, Domin s.n.; holo: PR?. Otanthera bracteata Korth., Verhandlingen over de Natuurlijke Geschiedenis der Nederlandsche overzeesche bezittingen : 235(1844), Type: Sumatra, G. Singgalang, Korthals s.n.; holo: L; iso: U. Fide R. C. Bakhuizen van den Brink, Jr., Meded. B
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