Apologies for the lack of entries — it’s all on me and my (lack of) time, as I now have a good-sized backlog of entries from Taisha. She’s written today’s entry:
Today’s images (original 1 | original 2) of Melastoma malabathricum subsp. malabrathricum, commonly known as blue tongue or Malabar melastome or native lasiandra, were taken on April 17, 2011 by long-time BPotD contributor Andreas Lambrianides. Thank you for all of your wonderful photos and for today’s pictures!
Melastoma malabathricum subsp. malabrathricum of the Melastomataceae is native to tropical Asia, Taiwan, parts of Australia, Mauritius and Seychelles. In Australia, typical habitats include roadsides, disturbed rain forest areas and other wet forests. The Flora of China’s account seems to take a broader view of the species (Melastoma malabathricum), so the habitat includes more environments and the species distribution is wider.
The 3m tall stem of this shrub and its branches are covered in appressed scales. As shown in the photographs, the elliptical or ovate leaves are hairy and have a midrib with 2 to 3 longitudinal veins on either side. The terminal clusters of 3-7 flowers are purple-reddish in color with two leaf-like bracts at the base. The fruit is a densely hair-covered fleshy capsule. It dehisces to reveal a dark pulp with small orange seeds that are dispersed by birds.
According to Malay, Indian and Indonesian folk medicine, different parts of Melastoma malabrathicum are thought to have medicinal value for the treatment of a variety of ailments. There are also several prospective pharmacological uses, but in-depth scientific studies first must be completed to verify their potential (see: Joffry, SM., et al. 2011. Melastoma malabrathicum (L.) Smith ethnomedicinal uses, chemical constituents, and pharmacological properties: A review. Evid. Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012: 258434. doi:10.1155/2012/258434).