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Soapbush (Clidemia hirta)

Senggani bulu or soapbush or Koster's curse (Clidemia hirta) is a species of tropical plants, perennial shrubs, grows as high as 0.5-3 m, but sometimes reaches 5 m in more shady habitat, young stems are round and covered with hair, stiff, reddish brown.

C. hirta has simple leaves arranged opposite to the stem, oval-shaped in a wide line at the base with a pointed tip and almost entirely to a smooth jagged margin. The upper surface is rarely covered with hair, while the lower surface has thick hair.

Dlium Soapbush (Clidemia hirta)

The leaves have a rather tangled appearance and five main veins are straight, curved and spread in parallel from the base of the leaf to the tip. Minor veins spread transversely and straightly that connect the five main veins.

The flowers are arranged in small clusters at the ends of branches, growing on very short stems and having five white petals or sometimes pale pinks. The base of the flower is covered with a mixture of coarse and sticky hair, five sepals but these are very small and five stamens which have claw-like appearance.

Berries are round, up to 8 mm long and dark blue or purplish or blackish in color and are covered by stiff hair and spread especially when still young. Each contains more than 500 light brown seeds. The fruit has flavor and is edible.

Soapbush is widely introduced as an ornamental plant, very invasive in wet zones and inland forests at an altitude of 5-1300 meters especially attacking fissures in the forest and killing native species. Very fast to master wet grasslands, open grasslands, plantations, roadside, wet open forests, riparian zones, forest boundaries and rain forests.



Senggani bulu into flowering and fruit throughout the year to produce more than 1,000 fruits/year with 700,000 seeds. Seeds can remain alive in the soil for at least 12 years. Seeds are spread by birds, wild pigs, other animals and humans.

Fruit contains 49 cal calories, 84.5% H2O, 1.9 gr protein, 0.1 gr fats, 12.3 gr carbohydrates, 1.2 gr fiber, 0.0172 gr calcium, phosphorus, 0.57 gr, iron 0.029 gr, B-carotene, 3 gr, and 0.14 gr ascorbic acid.

The tannins in the fruit are poisonous to goats but are not harmful to humans. The fruit extract is processed into a delicious and beautiful tilapia blue syrup and can be used to increase and eliminate the bitterness of tea. The leaves are used to treat skin infections of Leishmania braziliensis.

Active substances contained in leaves that act as wound healers are flavonoids that function as antibacterial and antioxidants, steroids function as anti-inflammatory, saponins have the ability as an antiseptic, and tannins function as astringents.

Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Myrtales
Family: Melastomataceae
Genus: Clidemia
Species: C. hirta

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