Pternandra echinata Jack (Melastomataceae)
by Mrs. Syazwani Binti Azeman
© Syazwani bt. Azeman

Known as “Sial menahun” in Malay, Pternandra echinata, from the family Melastomataceae, is an evergreen, small to medium-sized tree that can grow up to 30 m tall. This tree is distributed in Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, the Riau Archipelago and Borneo. This species is common in primary and secondary lowland forests. It can also be found on forest edges and in thickets, up to 1,300 m above sea level. Pternandra echinata has also been found in swamp forests and along rivers (Faridah Hanum & Shamsul, 2004).

The bole is usually straight, up to 90 cm in diameter, with buttresses present in larger individuals. The bark is finely fissured and varies from dark grey to brown to yellow-brown. The leaves are simple, oppositely arranged, entire, 3-5-veined from the base and estipulate (having no stipules) (Faridah-Hanum & Shamsul, 2004). The inflorescence can be an axillary or terminal cyme, or sometimes umbel. Its flowers are either solitary or in clusters of 3–9, and smell mildly unpleasant. A flower has 4 lilac petals and bright yellow stamens. The fruit has tooth-like structures, is 8-20 mm wide, and turns from green to pale yellow and purple when ripe (Nparks Flora Fauna website, 2021).

Pternandra echinata is grown as an ornamental tree in parks and gardens for its attractive lilac flowers. A decoction of the pounded leaves can treat coughs and asthma, whereas a decoction of its roots is taken to treat childbirth complications. According to the Malaysia Plant Red List (Chua et al., 2010), its conservation status has not been evaluated (Chua et al., 2010).


  1. Chua, L.S.L., Suhaida, M., Hamidah, M. & Saw, L.G. (2010). Malaysia Plant Red List: Peninsular Malaysian Dipterocarpaceae. Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM), Malaysia.
  2. Faridah-Hanum, I. & Shamsul, K. (2004). A guide to the common plants of Ayer Hitam Forest, Selangor, Peninsular Malaysia. Universiti Putra Malaysia Press, Serdang, Malaysia. pp. 220.
  3. National Parks Board Singapore, Flora Fauna Web. (2021). Pternandra echinata Jack. Retrieved January 20, 2021, from
QR Code
Scan QR code for mobile experience

Other articles

Manilkara zapota (Sapotaceae)

Mrs. Syazwani Binti Azeman   •   29 Feb 2024   •   401 views

Sonerila griffithii C.B.Clarke (Melastomataceae)

Dr. Avelinah Julius   •   31 Jan 2024   •   784 views

Meistera lappacea (Ridl.) Škorničk. & M.F.Newman (Zingiberaceae)

Siti Eisya Nabiha Damahuri & Dr. Avelinah Julius   •   31 Dec 2023   •   961 views

Ploiarium alternifolium (Bonnetiaceae)

Mrs. Syazwani Bt. Azeman   •   15 Dec 2023   •   1404 views

Phaenicophaeus curvirostris (Shaw, 1810)

Nurfahana Binti Mo`in & Ms. Nur Aina Amira Binti Mahyudin   •   30 Nov 2023   •   1264 views
Get updates and an exclusive news when you sign up to our free newsletter.
Malaysia Biodiversity Information System (MyBIS)   by   Malaysia Biodiversity Centre (MBC)

Copyright © 2024, Malaysia Biodiversity Centre (MBC), Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability (NRES). All rights reserved. DISCLAIMER - The Malaysian Government, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability (NRES), Malaysia Biodiversity Centre (MBC) and Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) shall not be liable for any loss or damage caused by the usage of any information obtained from this website. By entering this site, you acknowledge and agree that no portion of this site, including but not limited to names, logos, trademarks, patents, sound, graphics, charts, text, audio, video, information or images are either MyBIS property or the property permitted by third-party and shall not be used without prior written approval from the owner(s).
Best viewed using latest Mozila Firefox, Google Chrome and Internet Explorer 10 with Resolution 1024 x 768px or above. Version 2.0 / 2016
Website Citation: MyBIS (2024). Malaysia Biodiversity Information System. Published on the Internet, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability, Malaysia Biodiversity Centre & Forest Research Institute Malaysia. [Retrieved 13 April 2024].