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Family Sapindaceae
Lepisanthes alata (Blume) Leenh.

Scientific names Common names
Capura alata (Blume) Teijsm. & Binn.            Johore (Tagalog)
Lepisanthes alata (Blume) Leenh.         Chinese averrhoe (Engl.)
Otolepis alata (Blume) Kuntze          Johore tree fruit (Engl.)
Otophora alata Blume          Malay cherry (Engl.)
Otophora edulis C.E.C.Fisch.          Malaysian lepisanthes (Engl.)
  Terengganu cherry (Engl.)
Lepisanthes alata (Blume) Leenh. is an accepted species. KEW: Plants of the World Online

Other vernacular names
INDONESIA: Cereme landa, Ki angir (Sundanese), Blimbing cina (Javanese), Kurummei (Kalimantan).
MALAYSIA: Engkili (Sarawak), Ceri terengganu, Buah Johor, Perupok, Rambai Istana (Peninsular).

Gen info
- Lepisanthes is a genus of 24 or 25 species of trees or shrubs native to tropical Africa, south and southeast Asia, Australia, and Madagascar. It includes species previously classified under genera Aphania, Erioglossum, and Otophora. (3)
- Lepisanthes alata is a species of flowering plant, a tropical forest fruit-tree in the lychee family, native to Southeast Asia. (2)

- Etymology: The genus name Lepisanthes derives from Greek words lepis, meaning "scale, flake", and anthos, meaning "flower", referring to the scales at the apex of the petals. Species epithet alata is Latin alatus, a, um, meaning "winged" referring to the winged rachis.

• Lepisanthes alata grows as a small monoecious tree to 5–15 m in height. Pinnate leaves have 5–13 pairs of usually sessile, lance-shaped to oblong leaflets. Pendulous inflorescences bear wine-red to purple flowers. Fruits are oval drupes, 2–4 cm long by 2–3 cm in diameter, red to purple when ripe, each containing two seeds in an edible, sweet, white mesocarp. (2)

• A tree up to 15 m tall. Foliage: Leaves are compound, 20-45 cm long (occasionally to 100 cm), with 8-12 pairs of leaflets. Main stem of the leaf is glabrous and winged on both sides; wings are 3-8 mm wide. Leaflets are ovate-lanceolate to lanceolate, oppositely or sub-oppositely arranged, with pointed tips and entire margin. Young leaves are pinkish-purple, turning green when mature. Flowers: Monoecious (male and female flowers on the same plant). Flowers are borne in clusters which grow up to 45 cm in length, scentless, with 5 purple to wine red colored petals. Fruits: Trigonous-obovoid with a pointed tip, measuring about 2.5-4 cm in diameter. Mature fruits are red in color, with translucent fleshy pulp. (8)

- Native to the Philippines and Borneo.
- Introduced into Jawa and Malaya.

- In forests along water streams, up to 500 m altitude.

- Phytochemical isolated from L. alata include: flavanol (epicatechin), flavanonol (taxifolin-3-O-hexoside), flavanone (eriodictyol-7-O-rutinoside; eriodictyol-O-hexoside I,II,III), flavonol (myricetin-3-O-rutinoside, quercetin-3-O-rutinoside, quercetin-3-O-glucoside, kaempferol-3-O-rutinoside, isorhamnetin-3-O-rutinoside, quercetin-3-O-rhamnoside, quercetin, quercetin-4’-O-galactoside), flavone (luteolin-7-O-hexoside), isoflavone (neobavaisoflavone, daidzein, genistein), anthocyanin (cyanidin-3-O-sophoroside, cyanidin-3-O-glucosylrutinoside, cyanidin-3,5-O-diglucoside, cyanidin-3-O-rutinoside-5-O-glucoside, delphinidin-3-O-neohesperidoside, cyanidin-3-O-glucoside, cyanidin-3-O-rutinoside, peonidin-3-O-glucoside, cyanidin-3-O-pentoside, cyanidin-3-O-(2”’-acetylrutinoside), cyanidin-3-O-(6”-acetylglucoside), delphinidin-3,5-O-diglucoside, delphinidin-3-O-(6”-coumaroylglucoside), delphinidin-3-O-rutinoside, cyanidin-3-O-glucoside-5-Opentoside, cyanidin-3-O-glucoside-7-orhamnoside, petunidin-3-O-rutinoside), phenolic acid (caffeic acid-4-O-glucoside, vanillic acid-4-O-glucoside, ferulic acid-4-O-glucoside, (2Z)-6-[5-(b-D-Glucopyranosyloxy)-4-hydroxy-2-methylphenyl]-2-methyl-2- heptenoic acid), other compounds (mangiferdiol, 3-Isopentadienyl-3’,4,5’-trihydroxystilbene, Verbasoside, Primulaverin, Astringin), tannin (Methyl 4-O-galactopyranosyl-2,3-di-O-methyl-galactopyranoside Benzyl alcohol-hexosidepentoside I, II, Primeveroside, Jasminoside R, Pinellic acid, Equol). (7)
- Nutrient analysis of ripe fruit yielded: moisture 77.7%, dietary fiber 9.5%, ash 0.8%, total sugar 9.8%, and vitamin C 16 mg/100g (Upho 2005). (9)

- Studies have suggest antioxidant, antibacterial, antidiabetic, α-amylase, α-glucosidase inhibitory activities.

Parts used
Leaves, fruits, seeds.


- Fruits is edible; fruit pulp is sweet when ripe.
- In Thailand, young leaves cooked and eaten as vegetable.
- No reported folkloric medicinal usage in the Philippines.
- In East Kalimnatan, leaves used to reduce itching due to scabs.
- Fruits used for treatment of fever, constipation, dysentery, debility and flatulence.

Polyphenolic Content / Toxicity Testing / Antioxidant Activity:
Study evaluated the polyphenolic content, toxicity, and antioxidant activity of L. alata fruits. Polyphenol content was highest in whole fruit (2.87 mg GAE/g DW), lowest in the flesh (0.64 mg GAE/g DW). Anthocyanin content was highest in the rind (1462.82 mg/100g FW) and lowest in the flesh (627.27 mg/100g FW). Epicatechin was the major catechin in the whole fruit. Ethanol extract of bark showed highest DPPH radical scavenging activity. Toxicity testing by Brine Shrimp Lethality Test (BSLT) showed lowest LC50 for the whole fruit extract (1600mg/mL), indication safety for consumption. Results suggest a source of natural antioxidant supplement in processed foods to protect against free radicals. (4)
Proantocyanidins / Antidiabetic / α-Amylase and α-Glucosidase Inhibitory Activity: Lepisanthes alata is an edible plant with high starch hydrolase inhibition activities for corn starch hydrolysis with aqueous extract IC50 of 0.77 µg/mL for porcine α-amylase, and 10.83 µg/mL for rat intestinal
-glucosidase. Proanthocyanidins were identified as the active compounds. Inhibition kinetic study showed the proanthocyanidines were a mixed noncompetitive inhibitor against α-amylase but competitive inhibitor against α-glucosidase. Results suggest potential of L. alata for prevention of post prandial hyperglycemia. (5)
Proantocyanidins / Effect of Fruit Ripening / Fruits: Bioactive proanthocyanidins are the main inhibitors of starch hydrolases in unripe and ripe Malay cherry fruits. Proanthocyanidins from unripe and ripe fruits showed stronger inhibition of α-amylase with IC50s of 3.54 and 1.19 µg/mL, respectively, than that of α-glucosidase. Mean degree of polymerization (mDP) of proanthocyanidins increase from 8 to 18 as fruit ripened. Larger proanthocyanidins (higher mDP values) in ripe fruits exhibited significantly stronger inhibition of α-amylase and α-glucosidase than less polymerized proanthocyanidins in unripe fruits, indicating the dependence of inhibition on mDP. Total phenolics and total anthocyanidins significantly decreased as fruit ripened. (6)
Antioxidant / Antibacterial / Seeds: Study evaluated the antioxidant and antibacterial activity of 60% ethanol peel, flesh and seed extracts of Ceri terengganu. The seed extract showed highest TPC, TFC and antioxidant activity, followed by peel and flesh extract. The peel extract showed highest total monomeric anthocyanins content. All three extracts inhibited selected test pathogens viz. S. aureus, B. cereus, and B. subtilis. The seeds showed greatest potential  as natural antioxidant and antibacterial agent for the food industry. (7)

- Wild-crafted.
- Ornamental cultivation.

November 2023

                                                 PHOTOS / ILLUSTRATIONS
IMAGE SOURCE: Photo : Lepisanthes alata fruits / © Marina Khaytarova / Non-commercial use / image modified / click on image or link to go to source page / TopTropicals
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Illustration: A drawing of L. alata in Fleurs, fruits et feuillages choisis de l'ille de Java by Berthe Hoola van Nooten / 1880 / Public Domain / Wikipedia
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Photo : Lepisanthes alata leaves / © Cheong Weei Gan / CC BY-NC 4.0 / EOL

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Lepisanthes alata / KEW: Plants of the World Online
Lepisanthes alata / Wikipedia
Lepisanthes / Wikipedia
Total Phenolic, Anthocyanin, Catechins, DPPH Radical Scavenging Activity, and Toxicity ofLepisanthes alata (Blume) Leenh /  Tuty Anggraini, Syafni Wilma, Daimon Syukri, Fauzan Azima /  International Journal of Food Science, Vol 2019: Article ID 9703176 / DOI: 10.1155/2019/9703176
Lepisanthes alata (Malay cherry) leaves are potent inhibitors of starch hydrolases due to proanthocyanidins with high degree of polymerization / Yan Zhang, Adeline Ik Chiang Wong, Ji'en Wu, Nura Binte Abdul Karim, Dejian Huang / Journal of Functional Foods, 2016; Vol 25: pp 568-578 /
DOI: 10.1016/j.jff.2016.06.035
Characterization and bioactivity of proanthocyanidins during Malay cherry (Lepisanthes alata) fruit ripening / Yan Zhang, Roberet Wibisana Santosa, Min Zhang, Junwei Huo, Dejian Huang /  Food Bioscience, 2020; Volume 36: 100617 / DOI: 10.1016/j.fbio.2020.100617
Phytochemistry and Pharmacological Activities of Lepisanthes Genus: A Review 
/ Siti Z Zulkifli, Nurunajah Ab Ghani, Nor H Ismail, Nur V Bihud, Nurulfazlina E Rasol / Trop J Nat Prod Res., 2021; 5(6): pp 994-1005 / pISSN: 2616-0684 / eISSN: 2616-0692
Lepisanthes alata / National Parks: FLORA & FAUNA WEB
Lepisanthes alata / T K Lim / Edible Medicinal and Non-Medicinal Plants, Vol 6, Fruits

DOI: It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

                                                            List of Understudied Philippine Medicinal Plants
                                          New plant names needed
The compilation now numbers over 1,400 medicinal plants. While I believe there are hundreds more that can be added to the collection, they are becoming more difficult to find. If you have a plant to suggest for inclusion, native or introduced, please email the info: scientific name (most helpful), local plant name (if known), any known folkloric medicinal use, and, if possible, a photo. Your help will be greatly appreciated.

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