Characteristics of Singapore Holly Tree (Malpighia coccigera) in the Wild

Malpighia coccigera
Singapore holly (Malpighia coccigera) also known as Dwarf holly, Miniature holly, Barbados holly, and 葉黃褥花 in Chinese, is a species of plant in the family Malpighiaceae.

Singapore holly comes from the West Indies, which is currently widely grown as an ornamental bush, living fence, and is often used to make bonsai.

Malpighia coccigera is related to the Barbados Cherry (Malpighia emarginata) and Acerola (Malpighia glabra). This tree can be found in tropical forests or on rocky hillsides near rivers where the soil is rich and moist. Singapore holly can also be purchased from a nursery or grown from seed. Propagation from stem cuttings or twigs can also be done in the summer to plant this tree.


Characteristics of Singapore Holly Leaf

Malpighia coccigera Leaf

The leaves are small, spiny, similar to the original holy (Ilex sp.), dark green, and glossy.


Characteristics of Singapore Holly Flower

Malpighia coccigera Flower

The flowers have a variety of colors, from white to pink.


Characteristics of Singapore Holly Fruit

Malpighia coccigera Fruit
Source: Khare

The fruit is cherry, green when young, and red when ripe.


Characteristics of Singapore Holly Tree

Malpighia coccigera Tree
Source: Khare

Singapore holly grows as a dwarf shrub, evergreen, and grows to a maximum height of 1 meter. The tree grows very well in the sun all day and in dry soil. It will produce cherry-shaped fruits with red color and beautiful white or pink flowers.

Singapore holly is quite popular and is commonly used as a bonsai in the hot tropics. Its characteristic leathery stems and glossy leaves make it look unique.


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