Myrica esculenta Buch.-Ham. ex D. Don

Last updated: 07 Jul 2015

Scientific Name

Myrica esculenta Buch.-Ham. ex D. Don


Myrica sapida Wall. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Telur chicak, gelincek, kesami (Peninsular) [2]
English Box myrtle [2], bay berry, Malay gale, myrtle [3]
China Mao yang mei [3]
India Katphal, sombrikha (Sanskrit); achensu, akolich, kayaphul, mahavalkala, marutham, sehlia, soma valka, marulam, marutam [3]
Indonesia Ki keper (Sundanese); samben, woru gesik (Javanese) [2]
Thailand Metchun tua phuu (Phangnga); ruesee sek (Chai Nat); maak-mon-on (Shan-Chiang Mai) [2]
Nepal Jheremsi, kabasi, kafal, kaiphal, kaphal, karbija, karpesi, kawasi, kobusi, namum [3]

Geographical Distributions

Myrica esculenta is native to a large part of South Asia. It is found in the Himalayas of Nepal, in southern China eastwards to Guangdong province, in northern India, Burma, Indo-China and Thailand. In Malaysia, it occurs in Peninsular Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia (Sumatra, Kalimantan, Java, and the Lesser Sunda Islands). [2]

In Southeast Asia, M. esculenta occurs in light forests, where it is locally numerous. It prefers dry, well-drained soils, and can be found on sandy dunes and stony laterites, from the lowland up to 1700 m altitude. In India and China, M. esculenta grows in a subtropical climate on hills and mountains at 900-2100 m altitude. [2]

Botanical Description

M. esculenta is a small, evergreen dioecious tree which can reach up to 15 m tall. The trunk is 40 cm in diametre, crooked and irregularly branched. The bark is greyish-brown and measure 5-15 mm thick. The buds and twigs are usually clothed with long hairs and mixed with scattered sessile glands. [2]

The leaves are arranged spirally, coriaceous, lance-shaped-obovate or oblong-obovate, measuring (2.5-)5-18 cm x 1-4.5 cm, usually wedge-shaped at the base, acute or obtuse at the apex, entire or sometimes coarsely serrate, more or less hairless and minutely glandular beneath and without stipules. The petiole is 2-10 mm long. [2]

The flowers are in catkins, which are borne on stalks up to 8 cm long in the leaf-axils. Each flower is subtended by a bract. The male flowers are with (2-)4 stamens and with red anthers while the female flowers are with an initially hairy ovary and two slender, sharply-pointed stigmas. [2]

The fruit is an ellipsoid drupe, measuring 1-2 cm long, beset with rounded tubercles, red when ripens and 1-seeded. The fruits mature in about 6 months after flowering. [2]


M. esculenta is very rarely cultivated. [2]

Chemical Constituent

No documentation

Plant Part Used

No documentation

Traditional Use

No documentation

Preclinical Data

No documentation

Clinical Data

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing



Figure 1: The line drawing of M. esculenta [2]


  1. The Plant List. Ver 1.1 Myrica esculenta Buch.-Ham. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited on 2015 July 07]. Available from:
  2. Chengde C, Dawang S. Myrica esculenta Buch.-Ham. In: Lemmens RHMJ, Wulijarni-Soetjipto N, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 3: Dye and tannin-producing plants. Wageningen, Netherlands: Pudoc Scientific Publishers, 1991; p. 96-97.
  3. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume IV M-Q. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press; 2012. p.234.