Saurauia (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Saurauia Willd.

Family: Actinidiaceae

Major species and synonyms

  • Saurauia pentapetala (Jack) Hoogl., synonyms: S. nudiflora DC. var. angustifolia Craib, S. tristyla auct., non DC.

Vernacular names

  • Malaysia: kelapong, lengadir (Peninsular)
  • Philippines: kalimug (Tagalog)
  • Thailand: chasamkaeo (Nakhon Si Thammarat), samkaeo (peninsular), chasan (Chiang Mai)
  • Vietnam: chi nóng, dương dào.


A large genus occurring from northern India and Nepal throughout South-East Asia to the Ryukyu Islands, northern Australia and Fiji (about 250 species); also in Central and South America (about 70 species). S. napaulensis has possibly been introduced into Peninsular Malaysia.


Of some use as firewood. The fruits are edible but rather insipid. S. napaulensis is used in India and Nepal as a fodder and for erosion control, and as an ornamental in Sri Lanka. S. distasosa is cultivated in Java as a hedge plant.


  • Shrubs or small trees up to 15(-20) m tall, covered with scales and hairs. Bark greyish-brown to reddish, inner bark pink, orange or red.
  • Leaves arranged spirally, simple.
  • Inflorescence axillary or clustered on young twigs, cymose, corymbose or paniculate, sometimes with solitary flowers.
  • Flowers 5-merous, regular, bisexual; sepals free, persistent in fruit; petals connate at base, notched, white to pink or mauve.
  • Fruit a berry, splitting open and exposing the numerous seeds embedded in slimy sweet-tasting jelly.

Saurauia spp. often occur along creeks in primary forest, but also in secondary forest or disturbed sites, up to 2000 m altitude, but are most common between 500 and 1200 m. Uncertainty has existed about the true identity, especially of S. tristyla, leading to some confusion in the past. True S. tristyla is confined to Sulawesi and the Moluccas.

Selected sources

  • Backer, C.A. & Bakhuizen van den Brink Jr., R.C., 1963-1968. Flora of Java. 3 volumes. Wolters-Noordhoff, Groningen, the Netherlands. 647, 641, 761 pp.
  • Burkill, I.H., 1966. A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. 2nd Edition. 2 volumes. Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 2444 pp.
  • Flora Malesiana (various editors), 1950-. Series 1. Volume 1, 4-. Kluwer, Dordrecht & Flora Malesiana Foundation, Leiden, the Netherlands.
  • Hoogland, R.D., 1977. Saurauiae gerontogeae I. Notes on Malayan species. The Gardens' Bulletin, Singapore 30: 111-122.
  • Ridley, H.N., 1922-1925. The flora of the Malay Peninsula. 5 volumes. L. Reeve & Co., London, United Kingdom.
  • Smitinand, T., 1980. Thai plant names. Royal Forest Department, Bangkok, Thailand. 379 pp.
  • Smitinand, T., Larsen, K. & Hanssen, B. (Editors), 1970-. Flora of Thailand. Volume 2-. Danida, TISTR Press, Bangkok, Thailand.


  • M.S.M. Sosef & L.J.G. van der Maesen