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Champereia manillana (Blume) Merrill var. manillana
by Mrs. Syahida Emiza Suhaimi & Ms. Chew Ming Yee
Newsletter
Champereia manillana (Blume) Merrill var. manillana
by Mrs. Syahida Emiza Suhaimi & Ms. Chew Ming Yee

Champereia is a monotypic genus in the family Opiliaceae. Its one species has two varieties, C. manillana var. manillana and var. longistaminea. The character distinguishing these two varieties is fruit size. Champereia manillana var. manillana has smaller fruits, 4–15 mm long and 4–10 mm diameter, while var. longistaminea has much bigger fruits, 22–25 mm long and 15–17 mm diameter.

The species is widely distributed from Andaman Island to Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Java, Borneo, the Philippines, Sulawesi, Maluku, Lesser Sunda Islands and Papua New Guinea. Only var. manillana occurs in Peninsular Malaysia, where it is found in all states. Variety longistaminea endemic in Southern China (Guanxi and Yunnan).

In Peninsular Malaysia, it grows wild in primary forest to 1490 m altitude, in secondary forest and sometimes on limestone outcrops to 100 m altitude.

Champereia manillana is a shrub or small tree to about 10 m tall. The leaves are variable in shape and size being sometimes ovate, oblong or lanceolate, 5–19 cm long and 2.5–8.5 cm wide and minutely pimply on both surfaces.

Champereia manillana is a gynodioecious plant, that it is has bisexual and female flowers. The inflorescences are borne on the older branches or on the main trunks and twigs. The flowers are small, cream-brown to green and have 4 to 5 tepals. The bisexual inflorescences are paniculate or are small cymes, or they are often cauliflorous. The flowers are 1–2 mm long, distinctly pedicelled and when the flowers are fully open, the tepals are reflexed. The female flowers are usually arranged singly or in clusters along the branches of the inflorescence. The female flowers are smaller than bisexual flowers, about 0.5 mm long with a very short pedicel. The fruit is drupaceous, ellipsoid and glabrous, turning to orange reddish when ripe. Champereia manillana flowers and fruits throughout the year.

The young leaves and fruits are commonly sold in local markets and are eaten as a vegetable. C. manillana is known as “Chemperai” by Malay and “Kayu rangi” by Temuan.

In Peninsular Malaysia, the conservation status of C. manillana var. manillana is considered as ‘Least Concern’ because it is widely distributed.

References

  1. Ng, F.S.P (1989). Tree Flora of Malaya. A Manual for Foresters, Volume 4. Longman Malaysia, Petaling Jaya.
  2. Ridley, H.N. (1922). The Flora of Malay Peninsula, Volume 1. Lovell Reeve & Co., Ltd., London, England. pp. 918.
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