Colubrina asiatica (L.) Brongn.

Etymology Genus Snake-like; perhaps referring to the messy branching of the plant
Species Of Asiatic origin, or more specifically the Old World
Family Rhamnaceae
Synonyms Ceanothus asiaticus L., Rhamnus asiatica (L.) Lam. ex Poir.
Common Names Latherleaf, Peria laut, Asian Snakewood, Asiatic Colubrina
Status Native: Common
Form Shrub
Native Distribution Eastern Africa to Indian and Southeast Asia, Tropical Australia, and the Pacific Islands


A common and messy shrub at the beach forest. The leaves are very distinctive, being tri-veined, glossy at the upper surface, and having serrated edges. It flowers regularly and they are very small (about 5 mm across) and star-shaped.

Interesting Facts:

The Latherleaf, once only found in the coastlines of the Old World, is now distributed pantropically. It is regarded as an invasive species in Florida as they outcompete other native vegetation (PCA, 2005).

The seeds are buoyant and dispersed by the sea. It has been suggested that birds use the seeds as crop stones, facilitating in their dispersal too (PCA, 2005).

A messy shrub of Colubrina asiatica at Punggol Beach.

The leaf-bearing branch is somewhat zig-zag.

The leaf is tri-veined and have serrated edges.

The flowers are tiny, star-shaped and have a yellow centre.

Fruits, ripen ones turn brown like those on the top.


PCA. (2005) Colubrina asiatica. Plant Conservation Alliance's Alien Plant Working Group. Accessed on 3-Mar-2013.

Author: Jake
Posted: 2013-03-03 / Modified: 2015-01-11