Embelia ribes Burm.f.

Etymology Genus From a Sinhalese common name of the plant
Species After the genus 'Ribes or Gooseberries', referring to the fruit.
Family Primulaceae
Synonyms -
Common Names False Black Pepper, White-Flowered Embelia
Status Native: Common
Form Woody climber
Native Distribution China, Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia, Papua New Guinea


Embelia ribes is a woody climber found commonly in our secondary forests. The oppositely arranged leaves are elliptic to narrowly obovate, hairless and leathery; with indistinct veins, and pale green undersides. The petioles are slightly twisted. The berries ripen to a red colour.

Interesting Facts:

All parts of the climber are used for traditional medicine or food (Silk, 2009). "The fruits or seeds are used as a vermifuge. In East Kalimantan, the crushed fresh bark is used to repel leeches and as a fish poison. The young leaves, shoots and young fruits are consumed as a (cooked) vegetable or condiment. The ripe sour-sweet fruits are also eaten as a delicacy, mostly by children."

A sprawling cover of Embelia ribes at Kent Ridge Road (2020).

Neat opposite branching.

Pale green undersides of the leaves.



Slik JWF (2009 onwards) Plants of Southeast Asia. http://www.asianplant.net/Primulaceae/Embelia_ribes.htm.

Author: Jake
Posted: 2020-11-28 / Modified: 2020-12-06