Myrmecodia tuberosa Jack

Last updated: 13 July 2015

Scientific Name

Myrmecodia tuberosa Jack


Lasiostoma tuberosum (Jack) Spreng., Myrmecodia amboinensis Becc., Myrmecodia apoensis Elmer, Myrmecodia armata DC., Myrmecodia bullosa Becc., Myrmecodia dahlii K.Schum., Myrmecodia echinata F.Muell. [Illegitimate], Myrmecodia echinata Gaudich. [Illegitimate], Myrmecodia goramensis Becc., Myrmecodia hispida A.Rich. [Invalid], Myrmecodia inermis DC. [Illegitimate], Myrmecodia kandariensis Becc., Myrmecodia lanceolata Valeton, Myrmecodia menadensis Becc., Myrmecodia muelleri Becc., Myrmecodia oninensis Becc., Myrmecodia paucispina Valeton, Myrmecodia peekelii Valeton, Myrmecodia pentasperma K.Schum., Myrmecodia pulvinata Becc., Myrmecodia rumphii Becc., Myrmecodia salomonensis Becc., Myrmecodia sibuyanensis Elmer, Myrmecodia sorsogonensis Elmer, Myrmecodia tuberosa Becc. ex Treub [Illegitimate]., Myrmecodia urdanetensis Elmer, Myrmecodia vivipara Warb. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Periok hantu, perutak, sembuku (Peninsular) [2]
Indonesia Rumah semut (Sumatra), urek-urek polo (Javanese) [2]
Vietnam K[yf] nam gai, k[yf] nam ki[ees]n [2]

Geographical Distributions

Myrmecodia tuberosa occurs throughout Malaysia, and also in Vietnam, the Solomon Islands and northern Australia (Cape York Peninsula).

Botanical Description

M. tuberosa falls under the family of Rubiaceae. It is an epiphytic subshrub, with solitary or few thick stems that arise from a varied shaped tuber-like swollen base that up to 40 cm long while the inside is usually with a labyrinth of honeycombed pores. The outside is with entrance holes that often in arcs, with or without spines on tubers and stems.

The leaves are arranged opposite, simple and entire, elliptical to oblanceolate or spatulate, 10-47 cm x 3-14 cm. Its base is abruptly to gradually tapered, apex is acute to acuminate, usually leathery, hairless and pinnately veined. The petiole is 2-13 cm long while stipules are interpetiolar, triangular and more or less persistent.

The flowers are a few, held together at the bottom of cup-shaped cavities in the stem with hairy bracts, bisexual, 4-merous, sessile and heterostylous. The sepal tube is cylindrical and limb is usually truncate. Petal is white, tubular, about 11 mm long, tube with a ring of hairs inside and hooked lobes. The stamens are inserted in petal tube and usually included while the filaments are absent or short. The disk is ring-shaped and prominent. Ovary is inferior with 4-6-celled, slender style, included or exserted with 4-6-lobed stigma.

The fruit is a fleshy drupe about 7 mm long, developing within cavities in the stem, extruded when mature, yellow, orange-red to pink when ripe and with 4-6 pyrenes.


M. tuberosa is distributed in widely divergent habitats. It can be found in mangrove trees along the coast, but also at high altitudes, up to 2500 m. It occurs in lowland rain forest (secondary as well as primary), swamp or riverine rain forest, disturbed forest, montane and mossy forest, Acacia-Melaleuca woodland, Casuarina-Melaleuca and Eucalyptus-Melaleuca savanna, and sometimes in plantations. It is epiphytic on a wide range of trees.

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. tuberosa [2]


  1. The Plant List. Ver 1.1 Myrmecodia tuberosa Jack. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2015 July 13]. Available from:
  2. Myrmecodia tuberosa Jack In: Lemmens RHMJ, Bunyapraphatsara N, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia 12(3): Medicinal and Poisonous Plants 3. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publication; 2003.