Kopsia arborea Blume

Etymology Genus After Jan Kops, a Dutch botanist
Species Tree-like; describing its form
Family Apocynaceae
Synonyms Kopsia jasminiflora Pit., Kopsia lancibracteolata Merr., Kopsia laxinervia Merr.
Common Names Penang Sloe
Status Exotic: Cultivated Only
Form Tree
Native Distribution Andaman & Nicobar Islands, southern China, Thailand, Vietnam, Malesia, and Queensland


Kopsia arborea is a fairly common cultivated tree. It is a relatively short tree with oppositely arranged elliptic leaves with wavy margins. A useful guide is to look out for the old leaves which will turn reddish or purple (almost always present). The flowers are white with a faint yellow centre while the fruits is ovoid in shape.

Compared to all other Kopsia species, the Penang Sloe the only one that does not have a projection on its fruits.

Interesting Facts:

The species Kopsia flavida is misapplied to K. arborea in various local publications. K. flavida is actually a unique species by itself; having white flowers with a pink centre as well as fruits having a horny projection (Middleton, 2007).

Form of the Penang Sloe in Sengkang.

Leaves have wavy margins.

Old leaves turn red or purple.

A mark on the midpoint of where the opposite leaves meet.

Flowers are white with a faint yellow centre.

Fruits are dark purple and ovoid.


Middleton DJ. (2007) Apocynaceae (Subfamilies Rauvolfioideae and Apocynoideae). Flora Malesiana, Volume 18. 474 pp.

Author: Jake
Posted: 2013-07-25 / Modified: 2017-12-25