Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Muntingia calabura

Muntingia calabura is the sole species in the genus Muntingia.  It is a plant native to tropical America, now naturalized and widely distributed throughout the tropical regions.

In its region of origin, it is known as Strawberry tree ( Jamaica ) ; capulin, palman, bersilana, jonote, puan ( Mexico ) ; pasito ( Panama ) ; chitato, majaguito, chiriado, acuruco, tapabotija, nigua ( Columbia ) ; majaguillo, majagua, mahaujo, guácimo hembra, cedrillo, niguo, niguito ( Venezuela ) ; bolina, Iumanasa, yumanaza, guinda yunanasa, mullacahuayo ( Peru ) ; calabura, pau de seda ( Brazil ), cedrillo majagua ( Argentina ) ; capulina, chapuli ( Cuba ) ; bois d’ orme, bois de soie marron ( Haiti , Guadeloupe ) ; memiso, memizo ( Dominican Republic ) , etc

It is also known by many names : cerri, talok ( Indonesia ) ; tarkop farang ( Thailand ) ; Datiles, Cereza, Seresa, Manzanita , ratiles, latires ( Philippines ) ; cay trung ca ( Vietnam ).  In Malaysia, it is called kerukup Siam, Panama berry, Japanese cherry, Jamaica cherry, ceri Malaysia, ceri kampung or just simply ceri.

Muntingia calabura is a small tree with vertically layered branches.  It has serrated green leaves 5-8cm long and 1-2cm wide, alternate, oblong-lanceolate, unequal and sub-cordate at the base, acuminate at tip.  Flower is solitary, petal white in 5, sepal green, anthers yellow, stigma bright green.  Fruit is a berry, rounded, about 1.5cm in diameter, immature green, red when ripe, fleshy, and numerous tiny yellowish seeds.

Fruits are consumed fresh, by birds, monkeys, small mammals, and human as well.  Bark used for making rope.  Roots, leaves and flowers are used in traditional medicine. 

Muntingia calabura grows easily via seeds dispersed by birds.  It can thrives in poor soil, thus often a pioneer species, or used in reforestation projects.    Often it is considered as invasive weed.   

Basic About Leaves : Classification

Leaves are borne on a stem in a definite fixed order, or phyllotaxy, according to species . For identification purposes, leaves are classified according to type and shape, and types of margins , tips and bases , and venation

Leaf arrangement. (a) Helical (top view). (b) Helical with elongated internodes (alternate). (c) Opposite (decussate). (d) Whorled (verticillate).

Leaf types. (a) Simple. (b) Trifoliate. (c) Palmately compound. (d) Odd-pinnately compound. (e) Even-pinnately compound. (f) Decompound.

Leaf shapes. (a) Linear. (b) Lanceolate. (c) Oblanceolate. (d) Spatulate. (e) Ovate. (f) Obovate. (g) Elliptic. (h) Oblong. (i) Deltoid. (j) Reniform. (k) Orbicular. (l) Peltate. (m) Perfoliate. (n) Connate.

Leaf margins of various types. (a) Entire. (b) Serrate. (c) Serrulate. (d) Dentate. (e) Denticulate. (f) Crenate. (g) Undulate. (h) Incised. (i) Pinnatifid. (j) Dissected. (k) Lobed. (l) Cleft. (m) Parted.

Leaf tips and bases. (a) Acuminate. (b) Acute. (c) Obtuse. (d) Truncate. (e) Emarginate. (f) Mucronate. (g) Cuspidate. (h) Cuneate. (i) Oblique. (j) Cordate. (k) Auriculate. (l) Sagittate. (m) Hastate. (n) Clasping.

Leaf venation. (a) Dichotomous. (b) Pinnate reticulate. (c) Palmate reticulate. (d) Parallel (expanded leaf). (e) Parallel (linear leaf).

Friday, October 12, 2012

Garuda 芸香

Garudah is a Ruta angustifolia Pers, a shrub from the Rutaceae family. 

Ruta 芸香 is a strongly scented evergreen shrub.  There are some 40 species of rues, native to the Mediterranean, Macronesia and southwest Asia.  Extracts from rue had been used to treat eyestrain, sore eyes, and as insect repellent.  It is also used internally as an antispasmodic, as a treatment for menstrual problems, as an abortifacient, and as a sedative.

There are about 8 to 40 species in the genus.  Among them are : R. angustifolia, R. chalepensis, R. corsica, R. graveolens, R. montana.

The rue used by local Malay, known as gerudah  is probably  Ruta angustifolia (L.) Pers, the Egyptian rue  埃及芸香.  It’s common name may varied : garudah, aruda, sadal etc.  In Indonesia, it is known as inggu ( Sunda ), gogong minggu ( Jawa ), aruda.  In Vietnam it is luru.  

It can also be Ruta graveolens, the common rue,  also known as herb-of-grace.  Some considered R. graveolens Pers as a synonym for R.angustifolia auct.   Some even treated R. angustifolia as a variety of R. graveolens, or R. chalepensis.

Nevertheless, both R. graveolens and R. angustifolia are native to the Mediterranean region.  Both leaves, which are harvested for medical purpose, are bipinnate or tripinnate with blue-green colour and strong distasteful odor.  Flowers are however delightfully yellow.  It is incredibly bitter, almost unpalatable.   They has been used for medicinal and culinary purposes since ancient times.  It is propagated by seeds and cuttings.

Gerudah contains limonene, cineole, methyl-nonylketon, memodin, and rutin.  The seeds contain kokusaginine and skimmianine.