Genus Cynometra

Author: Linnaeus

Morphological description
Trees or shrubs . Buds small, with numberous brown scales in two ranks. New leaves developing in bright pink tassels. Stipules caducous immediately after the unfolding of the bud, leaving hardly any scar.

Leaves simply pinnate, 1-3(-6)-jugate, rarely unifoliolate or seemingly simple; petiolules usually very short. Leaflets opposite, asymmetric, entire and mostly glabrous.

Inflorescences axillary, paniculate, racemose, or spike-like (Cynom malaccensis overv 139523 ), solitary, sometimes 2 per axil, rarely cauliflorous and fasciculate, mostly spherical in outline, sometimes elongated, sessile, densely flowered; bracts scale-like, mostly persistent, appressed-hairy, often glabrescent; bracteoles caducous.

Flowers bisexual. Hypanthium usually shortly campanulate, circumscissile under the ripe fruit and then falling off, sometimes obscure or absent. Sepals 4 (or 5), imbricate, reflexed at anthesis. Petals 5 (or 4), narrow, free, glabrous. Disk absent. Stamens (8-)10(-15); filaments free, rarely united at the base, usually glabrous; anthers medi-dorsifix, lengthwise dehiscent, introrse, usually sagittate below and apiculate at the apex. Ovary usually stipitate and pubescent, 1-4-ovuled (1-, rarely 2-ovuled in Indo-Malesian species).

Fruits usually thickened, indehiscent, often flattened especially when young, smooth or rugose, sometimes warty, 1(-4)-seeded (Cynom ramiflora pod/lf 428825 ).

Seeds exalbuminous.

About 70 species, pantropical, in the western Pacific found eastwards as far as Micronesia, the Solomons and Fiji; 14 species (13 indigenous and 1 cultivated) occurring in Malesia.

In forests, sometimes growing on banks of rivers or streams, or found in coastal areas, from lowland up to 1300 m alt.

The timber of Cynometra species is not or moderately durable and, consequently, only suitable for interior construction, unless treated with preservative. Several species are treated in Soerianegara et al. in Soerianegara & Lemmens (eds.), Pl. Res. SE Asia (PROSEA Handb.) 5 (1), Major commercial timbers (1993) 151-155.

1. This presentation of the genus Cynometra is mainly based on the revisions by Knaap-van Meeuwen (1970) and Verdcourt (1979) as cited under the Literature Tab.
2. For delimitation of Cynometra and Maniltoa , see the Note to the latter genus.


In many herbaria there are sterile or incomplete Malesian specimens of Cynometra, mostly from New Guinea. They are very difficult to name and some of them may represent undescribed taxa. Verdcourt (1979: 83-87) has recorded several undescribed taxa of this genus from New Guinea, under the species a to g, citing the specimens examined and hoping that fertile or complete collections will be available in the near future.