Articles

Baeckea frutescens L.

 

Baeckea frutescens L.

Family

Myrtaceae

Synonyms

Baeckea chinesis Gaertner, Baeckea cumingiana Schauer, Baeckia cochinchinensis Blume.

Vernacular Names

Malaysia Chuchur atap, cucuran atap, hujong atap.
Indonesia Junjung atap (Bangka), jung rabab (Javanese), jhung rahab (Madurese).
Thailand Son naa, son saai (Peninsular), son hom (South-eastern).
Cambodia Moreck ansai.
Vietnam Ch[oor]i xu[eer], ch[oor]I s[er], thanh hao.

Geographical Distributions

Baeckea frutescens is distributed from Southeast Asia to Australia, including southern China, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo, Sulawesi and New Guinea. It is not known to occur in Java, the Lesser Sunda Islands or the Philippines.

Description

B. frutescens is an evergreen that is a heather-like shrub or small tree up to a height of 8 m. The bark is greyish brown, fissured and flaky, branches upright then spreading and drooping with wiry ends.

The 6-15 mm x 0.4-0.8 mm leaves are opposite form and needle-like, seemingly in clusters at condensed nodes. The base is narrowly wedge-shaped, obtuse apex or acute, margin is entire and resinous aromatic when crushed. The leaf stalk measures 0.5 mm long.

The inflorescence is from axillary with 1-flowered. The peduncle is absent or very short while the pedicel measures between 0.8-1.7 mm long. There are 2 bracteoles, which fall off early. The flowers are bisexual with 5-merous and are cup-like or bell-shaped measure between 1.5-2.2 mm long. It is partly fused to the ovary while the sepals which measure 0.4-0.9 mm x 0.6-1.1 mm is semiorbicular with its petal measuring up to 5 mm across. The petals are orbicular, measuring 1.1-1.8 mm across, white and the oil glands are present. There are 7-13 stamens in groups of 1-3 opposite each hypanthium lobe, the filament measures 0.5-0.8 mm long and the anther measures about 0.3 mm long. The ovary is divided into 2-3-locular with 12-18 ovules per locule and terete style is measures about 1.2 mm long.

The fruit is a hemispherical to bell-shaped capsule and opens by 3-4 longitudinal slits. The seedling is with epigeal germination; its cotyledons are small and green. The hypocotyl is elongated. The leaves are oppositely arranged and needle-like.

Ecology / Cultivation

B. frutescens grows on poor sandy and ultrabasic soils, in shrubland, often at high altitudes. It is also present in seasonally wet savanna and swamp forest.

Line Drawing / Photograph

Baeckea_frutescens

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References

  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No.12(2): Medicinal and poisonous plants 2.