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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Syzygium myrtifolium - Pokok Kelat Paya

Scientific name: Syzygium myrtifolium
SynonymsSyzygium campanulatum, S. campanulatum var. longistylum, S.sinubanese
Eugenia oleina, E. parva, E. myrtifolia, E. sinubanensis

Common names: Wild Cinnamon, Red-lip, Australian Brush Cherry, Kelat Oil

Chinese name: 红楠木 (Chinese cedar, Chinese red-wood)
Malay name: Pokok Kelat Paya

The genus name Syzygium is derived from the Greek word "syzygios"
meaning "yoked together possibly referring to the paired leaves".
(Re: Book titled "The Encyclopedia of Fruits and Nuts" by Jules Janick and Robert E. Paul)

The epithet myrtifolium is derived from the Latin word "myrtus" meaning leaves/foliage like myrtle.

Family: Myrtaceae (Myrtle family)
Origin: Indigenous tree of Malaysia and Thailand
Category: Tree
Photo taken at: Selesa Hillhomes & Gold Resort, Kampung Bukit Tinggi, Bentong, Pahang

How to grow :
Light : Full to partial sun
Soil : Rich, well-drain soil
Water : Moderate
Prune : Can withstand hard pruning
Propagate : Seeds, stem-cutting, marcotting, air-layering.

Features :
You'll see a lot of these bushy trees in Malaysia. They are usually planted as hedges in homes and by the roadsides. You can plant it as a solitary tree or landscape it with mass planting in rows. It is popular because the shoots and young leaves change colour from red to pink, then to yellow finally green. It is a low maintenance plant. They are often pruned hard because the new shoots will burst into colours of red, orange and yellow. They can also be shaped into topiaries or made into bonsai. However, when left alone, it will mature into a beautiful cone-shaped tree up to 10m tall, with clusters of powder-puff like, creamy-white flowers.The nectar-rich flowers attract bees, wasps and butterflies. It is host plant for the Copper Flash Butterfly (Rapala pheretima sequeira)  The ripe fruits look like berries and they attract birds.

There is a cultivar, Syzygium myrtifolium 'Dark Red' with dark red young leaves and bright pink to maroon flowers.


  1. I live near a small field among town council flats where many such trees were planted by the singapore's government. Does this tree attract bats? in the night although the Mayah birds were often found chattering noisely among the thick top growth during the day. Can someone advise? I dislike bats badly, they hiss into the nights and do really give U a fright at the windows. Need more info if anyone can provide here.

    1. Hi Winifred, the tree attract birds when they are bearing the fruit berries. I am not sure about the bats.


Yay! You like flowers too.

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