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Flora of Australia Online


Trevor Whiffin

Melastoma L., Sp. Pl. 389 (1753), Gen. Pl. 5th edn, 184 (1754); from the Greek melas (black) and stoma (mouth), referring to the ripe berries staining the mouth.

Type: Melastoma malabathricum L.

Small shrubs to small trees. Leaves 3–7-nerved, with conspicuous parallel cross veins; petiole short to moderate. Inflorescences terminal or distally axillary, compactly cymose or flowers solitary, with small to large and foliaceous bracts and bracteoles. Flowers usually 5-merous. Hypanthium urceolate to campanulate, often moderately to densely covered with scales or hairs. Calyx lobes distinct, ovate, caducous. Petals obovate, white, pink or purple. Stamens usually 10, anisomorphic, rarely isomorphic; anthers oblong-linear with a terminal pore; connective of the larger stamens distinctly prolonged, with a bilobed ventral appendage; connective of the smaller stamens not or little prolonged, with a small ventral appendage. Ovary usually 5-locular, the summit pubescent; ovules numerous on axile placentas; style filiform or curved. Fruit subfleshy, irregularly rupturing. Seeds numerous, small, cochleate and tuberculate. 

A genus of 70–100 species, from India, China and SE Asia through Malesia to Australia and the Pacific islands; one species in Australia. 

The genus contains a number of species which are widespread, somewhat weedy, and very variable. A complete revision of the genus is needed.

G.Bentham, Melastoma , Fl. Austral. 3: 292–293 (1867).



Data derived from Flora of Australia Volume 18 (1990), a product of ABRS, ©Commonwealth of Australia