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coastal plants
Delek air
Memecylon edule

updated Oct 2016
Where seen? This tree with beautiful blue flowers is rare. There are several on the rocky cliffsides of Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin and Labrador, as well as some at our offshore islands including Sentosa and Pulau Jong. Elsewhere, it is common on sandy and rocky shores. The Malay name for the Memecylon trees is 'Nipis Kulit' which means 'thin skin' refering to their thin bark.

Features: A small tree (3-7m tall). Bark greyish brown, finely ridged and very thin.

Leaves eye-shaped (3-7cm) so leathery that the veins are hard to see, does not produce latex when broken. Young leaves are glossy red.

Flowers tiny (0.5cm) many in ball-shaped cluster, calyx pink with bright blue petals and stamens. The flowers are said to be very fragrant.

Fruit globular (1cm), green ripening to pinkish then yellow and black.

Human uses: According to Burkill, the wood is very hard and heavy and good for house posts, rafters. It is an excellent fuel and makes good charcoal. After cutting, the stump coppices well. The fruit is said to be 'just edible'. In India, the leaves were used for a yellow dye. The leaves are part of a 'decoction of considerable reputation' in India for the treatment of gonorrhoea. The bark is used to poultice bruises.

Status and threats:
It is listed as 'Endangered' on the Red List of threatened plants of Singapore.

Chek Jawa, Jun 02

Leaves dip in seawater at high tide.
Chek Jawa, Oct 09

Chek Jawa, Oct 04

Chek Jawa, Jul 08

Chek Jawa, Apr 07

Sentosa, Jun 10

Chek Jawa, Oct 09

Chek Jawa, Dec 09

Delek air on Singapore shores

Photos of Delek air for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map


  • Memecylon edule on Total Vascular Flora of Singapore Online: photos and fact sheet.
  • Memecylon edule on the NParks Flora and Fauna website: photos and fact sheet.


  • Hsuan Keng, S.C. Chin and H. T. W. Tan. 1990, The Concise Flora of Singapore: Gymnosperms and Dicotyledons. Singapore University Press. 222 pp.
  • Burkill, I. H., 1993. A Dictionary of the Economic Products of the Malay Peninsula. 3rd printing. Publication Unit, Ministry of Agriculture, Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. Volume 1: 1-1240; volume 2: 1241-2444.
  • Corners, E. J. H., 1997. Wayside Trees of Malaya: in two volumes. Fourth edition, Malayan Nature Society, Kuala Lumpur. Volume 1: 1-476 pp, plates 1-38; volume 2: 477-861 pp., plates 139-236.
  • Davison, G.W. H. and P. K. L. Ng and Ho Hua Chew, 2008. The Singapore Red Data Book: Threatened plants and animals of Singapore. Nature Society (Singapore). 285 pp.
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