3. MELASTOMA Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 389. 1753; Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 184. 1754.
Melastome [Greek melas, black, and stoma, opening, alluding to stained mouth, especially of children, when fruits of some species are eaten]
Shrubs or trees. Stems erect or procumbent, 4-sided [subterete], often squamose-strigose; bark scaly. Leaves petiolate; blade with 1 or 2[–4] pairs of lateral primary veins, marginal pairs often inconspicuous, margins entire, surfaces usually strigose [subvillous to villous, rarely glabrate]. Inflorescences terminal or in distal foliar axils, usually cymes, rarely panicles or flowers solitary; bracts deciduous or persistent, leaflike, ovate, sometimes conspicuous. Flowers pedicellate; hypanthium campanulate to globose-urceolate; calyx deciduous, 5-lobed, lobes triangular to lanceolate or ovate; petals 5(–8), spreading, symmetric, light to dark pink, lavender, or purple; stamens 10, unequal, in 2 whorls, dimorphic, episepalous stamens with purple, upcurved anthers and long connectives, epipetalous stamens with yellow, straight anthers and shorter connectives, or stamens isomorphic and connectives slightly prolonged; anthers slightly downcurved, linear-oblong, 2-locular, dehiscent by 1 or 2 apical pores, or by short, longitudinal slits; ovary semi-inferior, adnate to floral tube, 5-locular; style straight, filiform, equal to petals. Fruits fleshy and irregularly splitting-dehiscent, [capsules and apically dehiscent, or berries and fleshy, indehiscent]. Seeds cochleate.
Species 22 (1 in the flora): introduced, Florida; Asia, Pacific Islands, Australia; introduced also in Mexico, elsewhere in Pacific Islands (New Zealand).
Most species of Melastoma have fleshy, irregularly dehiscent fruits; others have dry capsules [for example, M. pellegrinianum (H. Boissieu) Karsten Meyer].
SELECTED REFERENCE Meyer, K. 2001. Revision of the southeast Asian genus Melastoma (Melastomataceae). Blumea 46: 351–398.