A shrub growing to 5m tall, with a
single stem producing short perpendicular branches. Leaves (10cm
long) leathery with veins hardly visible, arranged in a spiral.
Young leaves somewhat pinkish. Twigs are swollen at the base and
easily detached. Flowers small (1cm across) star-shaped, with five
petals white or pink, in a cluster of 6-8 flowers. Fruit small
(0.5-1cm) red berries ripening to black. 'Mata pelandok' in Malay
means 'Eye of the mousedeer' probably referring to its ripe black
fruits. It is also called 'Mata ayam' or 'Eye of the chicken' and
'Mata itek' or 'Eye of the duck'.
From the structure of the flowers and the fact that these produce
nectar and a fragrance, the plant seems to be pollinated by insects.
But there are no records of flower visitors. It is said that birds
and other small fruit-eating mammals eat the fruits.
Human uses: The young shoots were eaten in the Malay Peninsula.
Medicinal uses include boiled leaves or roots used to treat
heartache. Another Malay name is 'Daun bisa hati' or 'Heartache
Leaf'. The Malays use a decoction of the leaves to treat heart pain.
The leaves are used to treat scabies and intestinal worms.