Meliosma simplicifolia (Roxb.) Walp.

TSO logo

Sponsor this page

For information about how you could sponsor this page, see How You Can Help


Article from New Trees, Ross Bayton & John Grimshaw

Recommended citation
'Meliosma simplicifolia' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2021-11-29.



Cone. Used here to indicate male pollen-producing structure in conifers which may or may not be cone-shaped.
(pl. apices) Tip. apical At the apex.
Diameter (of trunk) at breast height. Breast height is defined as 4.5 feet (1.37 m) above the ground.
With evenly triangular teeth at the edge. (Cf. crenate teeth rounded; serrate teeth saw-like.)
With an unbroken margin.
(of fruit) Vernacular English term for winged samaras (as in e.g. Acer Fraxinus Ulmus)
Lance-shaped; broadest in middle tapering to point.
(subsp.) Taxonomic rank for a group of organisms showing the principal characters of a species but with significant definable morphological differentiation. A subspecies occurs in populations that can occupy a distinct geographical range or habitat.
(pl. taxa) Group of organisms sharing the same taxonomic rank (family genus species infraspecific variety).


There are no active references in this article.


Article from New Trees, Ross Bayton & John Grimshaw

Recommended citation
'Meliosma simplicifolia' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2021-11-29.

Shrub or tree to 20 m. Branchlets terete, glabrous to tomentose. Leaves evergreen, entire, 3–50 × 1–18 cm, elliptic or obovate to lanceolate, papery to leathery, upper surface dull or shiny, lower surface paler, glabrous to tomentose particularly below and on the midrib and veins, 7–25 secondary veins on each side of the midrib, margins entire to dentate (often with spiny teeth), apex acute to acuminate; petiole 0.5–6 cm long, glabrous to pubescent, clasping at base. Panicles terminal (very rarely axillary), pyramidal, erect, dense to lax, (4–)10–50(–60) cm long, branched to two to four orders, sparsely pubescent to densely tomentose; pedicels absent or very small (0.3 cm). Flowers white; sepals (four to) five, though the addition of similar bracts can raise the number to 11, ovate, glabrous to pubescent; outer petals glabrous, inner petals deeply bifid, glabrous or ciliate. Fruit globose or subglobose, 0.4–1 cm diameter, stone keeled. Meliosma simplicifolia is widely distributed, and flowering and fruiting times vary significantly. Van Beusekom 1971. Distribution BANGLADESH; CAMBODIA; CHINA; INDIA; INDONESIA; JAPAN; LAOS; MALAYSIA; MYANMAR; PHILIPPINES; SRI LANKA; TAIWAN; THAILAND; VIETNAM. Habitat Usually montane tropical or subtropical forest up to 3000 m asl, but also at sea-level. USDA Hardiness Zone 9. Conservation status Not evaluated. Illustration NT517.

Meliosma simplicifolia is divided into eight subspecies, but only subsp. pungens (Walp.) Beusekom and subsp. rigida (Siebold & Zucc.) Beusekom are in cultivation in temperate areas. A key to these is provided below (a key to all eight subspecies can be found in van Beusekom 1971).


Leaflets elliptic to oblong, rarely lanceolate, margins entire or with a few teeth at the apex, dense tufts of hair in the vein axils of the lower surface present; panicles (5–)10–55 cm long, with primary branches subtended by reduced leaves; sepals (8–)9–11(–13); India (southeast), Indonesia (Sumatra), Sri Lanka

subsp. pungens


Leaflets obovate-oblong or obovate-lanceolate, margins coarsely dentate, dense tufts of hair in the vein axils of the lower surface absent; panicles 10–30 cm long, primary branches only rarely subtended by reduced leaves; sepals (4–)5; China (Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, southwest Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, south Yunnan, Zhejiang), Japan (east Honshu, Kyushu, Ryukyu Is., Shikoku), Laos, Philippines (north Luzon), Taiwan, Vietnam

subsp. rigida

Meliosma simplicifolia has a limited presence in horticulture. Subsp. pungens has evidently been in cultivation for many years, as the largest recorded specimen was 11 m tall (25 cm dbh) at Caerhays Castle, Cornwall when measured by Alan Mitchell in 1984 (TROBI). This has since disappeared, but another 8 m specimen and a younger individual were noted there by Owen Johnson in 2006, who also measured a 7 m tree at nearby Trewithen (TROBI). It has been commercially available in British nurseries within the past decade, and a few young specimens have been traced in research for the current work, including a planting in the grounds of Buckingham Palace (TROBI, Johnson 2007), and others in collectors’ gardens such as Tregrehan. It is rather shrubby, according to Hillier & Coombes (2002), and has long had a reputation for tenderness (Chittenden 1951) – perhaps explaining its exclusion from Bean (1981a). Also at Tregrehan is subsp. rigida, grown from seed supplied by the Qingpu Paradise Horticultural Company (no. 97167). When seen in 2005 this Tregrehan specimen was growing vigorously, forming a single straight stem with spreading branches, and by 2007 it had reached 5 m (T. Hudson, pers. comm. 2007). The big deciduous leaves develop from reddish brown buds and are flushed reddish before turning dark green above, paler below. This is clearly a taxon to watch for, and coming from more temperate latitudes it should be hardier than subsp. pungens. It is not easy to propagate, however (T. Hudson, pers. comm. 2007).