Author: Maleisian herbs
Akar kududuk hitam; senduduk; sikaduduk.
Gastrointestinal - Flatulence and diarrhoea. Piles. Female - Leucorrhoea. Skin - Dandruff, small-pox (local) Teeth - Toothache (gargle.) Heart - Anti - aggregation activities. (slows down clotting and pooling of blood
This showy bush rapidly colonises wastelands as their seeds are dispersed by birds. As such, the Straits Rhododendron is often considered a weed. The beautiful flowers last only one day, opening after sunrise, closing the same day, with the petals falling off on the a few days later. The flower has two different kinds of stamens. The seeds are tasteless and can be eaten, but stains the tongue black. In fact, the word melastoma is Greek for "black mouth".
Uses: The young leaves are eaten raw or cooked and taste sour. The pulp around the seeds can also be eaten (Indonesia). The seeds are used to produce a black dye, the roots, a pink dye. In some places, the leaves are fed to silkworms.
Traditional medicinal uses: Leaves are used to treat diarrhoea and dysentery (Malaysia, Indonesia); wash for ulcers, to prevent scarring from smallpox; and to treat piles.
Role in the habitat: The fruits are the favourites of birds like the flowerpeckers and doves which also disperse the seeds. Squirrels and monkeys are also fond of the fruits. The plant is the host for caterpillars of butterflies such as the Common Sailor (Neptis hylas) and the Grey Count (Tanaecia lepidea). Being among the first to colonise wasteland, the plant helps prevent soil erosion and to allow regeneration of vegetation in such places.
Melastoma malabathricum L. (melastoma) is an Al-accumulating woody plant that grows in tropical Southeast Asia in acid soils with high aluminum (Al) concentrations and low nutrient concentrations. Because oxalate serves as a ligand for Al accumulation in melastoma leaves and citrate is the ligand associated with Al translocation from roots to shoots, we investigated the role of organic acids in the adaptation of melastoma to growth on these soils. Phosphorus starvation increased oxalate concentration in the rhizosphere, enabling melastoma to solubilize insoluble aluminum phosphate in the rhizosphere. Increased availability of P and Al in the rhizosphere enhanced growth. In the xylem sap, the concentration of citrate increased with increasing Al concentration. In contrast, the concentrations of malate, succinate and a-ketoglutarate in the xylem sap decreased with increasing Al concentration, suggesting that tricarboxylic acid cycle enzymes were affected by Al treatment