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Department of Botany

Since 1980

Muntingia calabura L.


Thean (Honey) Kai Maram

   Botanical NameMuntingia calabura L.
   SynonymsMuntingia rosea. H.Karst. ; Muntingia calabura .var. trinitensis Griseb.
   Common NameEnglish : Bird's cherry / Tamil : Thean Pazham
   DistributionGlobal : Southern Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and Western South America.
Indian : Throughout South India.
   DescriptionSmall deciduous tree up to 10-15m height, with spreading, nearly horizontal branches. Leaves evergreen, alternate, lanceolate or ovate, long-pointed at the apex, oblique at the base. Inflorescence solitary or cyme. Flowers, small, bisexual, sepals, 5 green, small; petals 5, white, polypetalous, caducous in afternoon. Androecium, stamens many, prominent yellow, last only one day. Fruit round or spherical with red or sometimes yellow, smooth, thin, tender skin and light-brown, soft, juicy pulp, with very sweet, musky, somewhat fig-like flavor, filled with exceedingly minute, yellowish seeds, too fine to be noticed in eating. Fruits contain hundreds of tiny seeds.
   Flowering Fruiting periodThroughout the year
   UsesTimber, fruit edible and ornamental
   Medicinal UsesReduce gastric ulcers, antiseptic, reduce swelling, cure respiratory problems
   Tamil NameThean (Honey) Kai Maram