Macaranga bancana (Miq.) Müll.Arg.

Etymology Genus Common name of the plant in Philippines
Species unknown
Family Euphorbiaceae
Synonyms -
Common Names Common Mahang
Status Native: Common
Form Tree
Native Distribution Malesia, Thailand


Macaranga bancana is a very common small tree found in our secondary forests. The leaves are trilobed with serrated margins. Most distinctive are the reddish brown stipules that are recurved downwards.

Interesting Facts:

The Common Mahang has a mutualistic relationship with the Heart Gaster Ants (Crematogaster species) (BESG, 2020). It feeds off the starchy white globules inside the stipules, and also farm scale insects in the hollow stem where it lives in. In return, the ants are said to fend off the plant from vines and herbivores. 

This is also the host plant of the butterfly, Arhopala amphimuta amphimuta. The ants will attend to the caterpillars while milking them for their sugary secretions.

A small tree at Lower Pierce Reservoir Trail (2020).

Trilobed leaf upper surface.

Leaf underside.

Red stipules, ants, and holes at the petiole where ants emerged.

Starchy globules which ants feed on.

Hollow stem where the ants live in.


BESG (2014) Common Macaranga (Macaranga bancana) and its ants. Bird Ecology Study Group. Accessed on 3-Mar-2020.

Author: Jake
Posted: 2020-03-03