Species Guide: Rare Fruit Trees


The long, pleated leaves and yellow flowers of a lemba plant. Photo by Goh Shang Ming

Common name: Palm Grass, Weevil Lily, Hill Coconut

Malay name: Lemba

Scientific name: Molineria latifolia

Conservation status: Cultivated, Native to Malaysia


An evergreen plant that produces a cluster of leaves from the roots. Leaves are lance-shaped and pleated. It bears clusters of small, yellow flowers at the base of the plant. Fruits are white and egg-shaped.

Habit: Perennial herbaceous plant

Cultivation: It is planted by seeds or divisions

Ecological function: The flowers of this tree attract pollinators. It can be planted as a groundcover.

Pollinator: Ants, bees

Soil: No data

Moisture: Fertile, moist, well-drained soils

Shade: Full shade, semi-shade

Use: The fruits and seeds of this plant are edible. Its leaves are used as food wrap and replacement of cotton in making ropes, fishing nets and fabrics.

Interesting fact: The fruits of this plant temporarily modify the perception of taste as if the water or food tastes sweet, although it is actually not.

By ShangMing

A plant lover. I like small, medium, gigantic, ordinary, exotic, local, foreign plants. Just because they thrive to stand out.