Meliosma simplicifolia (Roxb.) Walp.

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Owen Johnson (2022)

Recommended citation
Johnson, O. (2022), 'Meliosma simplicifolia' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2024-05-30.


  • Millingtonia simplicifolia Roxb.


(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).


Owen Johnson (2022)

Recommended citation
Johnson, O. (2022), 'Meliosma simplicifolia' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2024-05-30.

Evergreen shrub or tree to 20 m. Bark smooth, grey. Twigs often with reddish pubescence when young. Leaves simple, usually in terminal clusters, obovate to oblong, 15–50 × 4–18 cm, glabrous above and with tufts under the veins; veins in 15–20 pairs, curving inwards, not reaching the margin; margin entire or toothed; petiole 1–5 cm, broadly grooved. Flower-head terminal (very rarely axillary), erect, (4–)10–50(–60) cm long, branched 3, rarely 4 times, sparsely pubescent to densely tomentose, opening very early in the year. Sepals (4–)5. Petals white or yellowish, ciliate. Fruit globose, 3–6 mm wide, often ripening in spring; set with sparse, netlike strips and with a distinct midrib. (Grimshaw & Bayton 2009; Guo & Brach 2007).

Distribution  Bangladesh In the Himalaya BhutanMyanmarCambodiaChina In the far south-west of the country IndiaIndonesiaLaosMalaysiaNepalPakistan In the Himalaya Sri LankaThailandVietnam

Habitat Warm, wet evergreen forests.

USDA Hardiness Zone 10

RHS Hardiness Rating H2

Conservation status Not evaluated (NE)

Meliosma simplicifolia, which was originally described from India by William Roxburgh in 1820 (as Millingtonia simplicifolia), was one of the taxa which Frits van Beusekom chose as a portmanteaux within which to place various other sorts that had originally been described as separate species. Van Beusekom’s work has largely been unravelled by modern taxonomists, but Plants of the World Online (Plants of the World Online 2022), whose treatment of the genus is followed throughout this account for the sake of consistency, continues to recognise two members from van Beusekom’s seven as subspecies of M. simplicifolia (along with subsp. simplicifolia itself whose distribution extends across subtropical south Asia, from Pakistan to Java.) Subsp. fruticosa (M. fruticosa Blume) is widespread in Indochina, while subsp. pungens (M. pungens Wall. ex Wight & Arn.) occurs in southern India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and northern Sumatra. A tree at Caerhays Castle in Cornwall was long believed to represent this taxon, but was re-identified in 2022 by van Beusekom and by Jan De Langhe as M. yunnanensis (De Langhe 2022). A few other plants in the UK are assumed to be sisters or scions of this tree and are treated here under M. yunnanensis, though further study would be welcomed.

Another plant described in New Trees (Grimshaw & Bayton 2009) under Meliosma simplicifolia (sensu Beusekom), which was received at Tregrehan from the Qingpu Paradise Horticutural Company (QPH 97–167) in 1997 as M. rigida Sieb. & Zucc., is an unrelated and deciduous plant with a flaking bark, and is treated here under M. myriantha.

It is therefore likely that no form of genuine M. simplicifolia is in cultivation in the west.

subsp. pungens (Wall. ex Wight & Arn.) Beusekom

Meliosma pungens (Wall. ex Wight & Arn.) Walp.
Millingtonia pungens Wall. ex Wight & Arn.

Discussed under the main entry for Meliosma simplicifolia, above.