Ardisia elliptica Thunb.

Etymology Genus A point (Ardis); referring to the pointed anthers
Species Elliptic; referring to the shape of the leaves
Family Myrsinaceae
Synonyms Ardisia littoralis Andrews, Ardisia squamulosa C. Presl, Ardisia umbellata Roxb.
Common Names Mata Ayam, Seashore Ardisia, Shoebutton Ardisia
Status Native: Endangered
Form Small tree or shrub
Native Distribution India to southeast China, Indochina, and Malesia


Ardisia elliptica is a small bushy tree sometimes pruned as a shrub. It is recognisable from its fleshy thick leaves which are oppositely arranged, reddish petiole, and inconspicuious veins. The ends of the twigs are swollen. It flowers and fruits very often and gregariously, hence making it an attractive ornamental plant.

Interesting Facts:

Mata Ayam can also be found naturally in Singapore, near the coast in sandy and muddy subsrate. Because of its ability to survive well under shade and effective seed dispersal by birds, it has turned invasive in countries (Hawaii, Florida, Cook Islands, etc.) where it was introduced (PIER, 1999).

Form of Mata Ayam.

Leaves are thick with inconspicuous veins.

The ends of twigs have a swollen base.

Flowers are pinkish.


PIER (1999) Ardisia elliptica. Pacific Island Ecosystem at Risk (PIER), Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry. Accessed on 9-Mar-2013.

Author: Jake
Posted: 2013-11-16 / Modified: 2017-12-26