Cynometra cauliflora L.

Last updated: 01 Mar 2017

Scientific Name

Cynometra cauliflora L.


Cynometra actifolia S.Vidal, Cynometra cauliflora var. elongatis Hassk., Cynometra cauliflora var. subsessilis Hassk. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Katak puru [2][3], nam nam, salah nama [4], puki anjing [5], namnam [6]
India Iripa, nam nam, niam niam, puki anjing [2]
Indonesia Nam nam, kopi anjing [3][4], namu-namu (Menado); kopi anjing (Java); puki (Sunda) [5]; namnam [6]
Thailand Amphawa (Central); hima (Pattani) [5]; nang-ai (Bangkok) [6].

Geographical Distributions

Cynometra cauliflora is only known in the cultivated state from Southeast Asia and India. Possibly C. cauliflora is originated in eastern Malesia. [5]

Botanical Description

C. cauliflora is a member of Leguminosae family. It is a shrub or small tree, which is measure about 3-15 m tall, with rather dense crown and with distinctly zig-zag twigs. [5]

The leaves are 1-jugate with 1 pair of leaflets while the petiole is measure about 2-8 mm long. The leaflets are ovate-oblong in shape, very asymmetric, measuring 5.5-16.5 cm x 1.5-5.5 cm, almost sessile and they are droop. [5]

The inflorescences are cauliflorous, with 4-5 small racemes that crowded together on hard knots on the trunk right down to the ground. The rachis is measure about 0.5-3 cm long. There are 4 pinkish-white in colour of sepals, which are measure about 2-4 mm long. The 5 white petals are measure about 3-4 mm long. There are 8-10 stamens while the style is measuring about 5-6 mm long. [5]

The 1-seeded fruit (pod) is kidney-shaped, with a size of measure about 3-9 cm x 2-6 cm x 1-4 cm, fleshy, wrinkled, brownish-green in colour and hanging from the trunk. [5]

The brown seeds are flattened kidney-shaped and with a size of measuring 3-6 cm x 2-4 cm. [5]


C. cauliflora grows well in wet tropical lowlands, but experience in India suggests that it is more fruitful in monsoon climates with a distinct dry season. It prefers full sun but tolerates shade. An annual rainfall of 1500-2000 mm and daily temperatures of 22-35°C are desirable. The tree resists wind. [5]

Chemical Constituent

No documentation.

Plant Part Used

Fruits and seeds. [5]

Traditional Use

The plant is used to treat renal calculi. [4]

The seed oil is used for treatment of skin diseases. [7]

Preclinical Data


Cytotoxic activity

The methanol extract of the whole fruit of C. cauliflora proved to be cytotoxic towards HL-60 (human promyelocytic leukaemia) cells by inducing cells into apoptotic cell death mode. However, it is less effective towards NIH/3T3 cells (normal mouse fibroblast cells). [8]


No documentation.

Clinical Data

No documentation.


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation.

Line drawing



Figure 1: The line drawing of C. cauliflora [5].


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Cynometra cauliflora L. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2010 July 14; cited 2017 Mar 01]. Available from:
  2. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume II C-D. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p. 586.
  3. Burkill IH. A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. Volume 1. London: Published on behalf of the governments of the Straits settlements and Federated Malay states by the Crown agents for the colonies, 1935; p. 730.
  4. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research. Compendium of medicinal plants used in Malaysia. Volume 1. Kuala Lumpur: HMRC IMR, 2002; p. 241.
  5. Sunarjono HH. Cynometra cauliflora L. In: Verheij EWM, Coronel RE, editors. Plant resources of South-East Asia No. 2: Edible fruits and nuts. Wageningen, Netherlands: Pudoc, 1999; p. 143-144.
  6. Hanelt P, Buttner R. Mansfeld’s encyclopedia of agricultural and horticultural Crops. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 2001; p. 574.
  7. Lim TK. Cynometra cauliflora. Edible Medicinal and non-medicinal plants. Netherlands: Springer, 2012; p. 614-616.
  8. Johari SAT, Mat N, Siti Aishah AB, Yusran AAM, Alwi A, Ali AM. Cytotoxicity, antiproliferative effects, and apoptosis induction of methanolic extract of Cynometra cauliflora Linn. whole fruit on human promyelocytic leukemia HL-60 cells. Evid Based Complement Altern Med. 2012;2012:127373.