Melastoma malabathricum L.
Malabar melastome, melastoma, Indian-rhododendron
Fruit a berry-like capsule with numerous seeds coated with red, sweet astringent pulp. Seeds dimorphic—with and without embryo. Fertile seeds folded or spiral, triangular to D-shaped in outline, 0.45–0.8 mm long, 0.35–0.5(0.6) mm wide, 0.17–0.3 mm thick, with sides sloping to central depression created by curve of seed and one face more or less truncate and round to elliptic. Testa light yellow or pale to dark cream-colored, with truncate face black or same color as testa. Surface glistening, dense with minute papillae. Hilar area on truncate face. Embryo linear-curved. Seeds without embryo similar to fertile seeds but smaller, 0.3–0.5 mm long, 0.2–0.3 mm wide, 0.2 mm thick, appearing collapsed, dented, or wrinkled, testa completely black or reddish-black.
Melastoma sanguineum Sims (non-FNW)
India, Sri Lanka, and Southeast Asia, including the Philippines and Taiwan, to Papua New Guinea, Australia, and the Pacific Islands; also Mauritius, Jamaica, and United States
native to tropical Asia, Australia, and Polynesia
Moist tropics; a weed in abandoned clearings, waste ground, disturbed sites associated with plantation crops.
Melastoma malabathricum is an evergreen shrub, up to 2 m tall. In Southeast Asia and elsewhere it is a widespread weed of industrial forest plantation crops (such as rubber and mahogany), orchards, and rice fields. In Hawaii it forms dense thickets in pastures and rangelands. Its minute seeds are dispersed by birds and water.