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Family Ebenaceae
Diospyros lanceifolia Roxb.

Scientific names Common names
Diospyros lanceifolia Roxb.          Kanarem (Tagalog)
Accepted infraspecifics (4) Malayan ebony (Engl.)
Diospyros lanceifolia var. iliaspaiei Ng             
Diospyros lanceifolia var. lanceifolia              
Diospyros amoena Wall. ex G.Don  
Diospyros clavigera var. pachyphylla (C.B.Clarke) Ridl.  
Diospyros grata Wall. ex A.DC.  
Diospyros hirsuta Hiern.  
Diospyros lanceifolia f. cagayanensis Bakh.  
Diospyros lanceifolia f. wenzelii Bakh.  
Diospyros lonchophylla Hiern  
Diospyros lucida Wall. ex A.DC.  
Diospyros multiflora Wall. ex A.DC.  
Diospyros pachyphylla C.B.Clarke  
Diospyros sabtanensis Merr.  
Diospyros lanceifolia var. renageorgeae Ng             
Diospyros lanceifolia var. saliciformis Ng             
Diospyros lanceifolia Roxb. is an accepted species. KEW: Plants of the World Online

Other vernacular names
INDIA: Penzeak.
THAILAND: Phlap hya khaeng.

Gen info
- Diospyros is a genus of about 450-500 species of deciduous and evergreen trees. They are commonly known as ebony or persimmon trees.
- Etymology: The genus name Diospyros derives from Greek words dios, meaning "of Zeus" and pyros, meaning "grain", originally applied to the Caucasian Persimmon (D. lotus). (11) The specific epithet lanceifolia refers to the "lance-shaped leaves".

Diospyros lanceifolia Roxb. is a timber that grows to a height of 20m with a girth of 70cm in lowland and hill rain forests to an altitude of 700m in India, Sumatra, Philippines, Malaysia, and Borneo. The bark is brown to black, smooth, or with fine cracks. The inner bark is bright yellow. The leaves are simple, oblong–elliptical to lanceolate, 4.5cm – 15cm × 2cm – 5cm with a base-pointed apex acuminate. The midrib is sunken above. It has up to nine pairs of secondary nerves. The petiole is 1cm long. The male inflorescence is a 3cm-long cyme. The male flowers are 4-merous, very small, and salver-shaped. The female flowers are solitary, small, and urseolate. The fruits are globose with a short apical beak, subglabrous, 2cm in diameter, and seated on a shallow 3–5- lobed calyx. (10)

• Evergreen tree, young shoots pubescent, branchlets and bark with peculiar pungent smell. bark blackish more or less with verrtical fissures. Leaves 2-farious, narrow-elliptic or lanceolate to oblong acuminate, glabrous, shining above, midrib depressed above, conspicuous beneath. Male flowers clustered, sessile; female ones solitary. Corolla rusty and silky. Stamens many. Ovary 8-celled, hairy. Fruit subglobose or ovoid, astringent. (4)

- Native to the Philippines. (2)
- Also native to Assam, Bangladesh, Borneo, India, Malaya, Myanmar, Nepal, Sumatera, Thailand. (1)

- Phytochemical study of stem bark of Diospyros lanceifolia identified a naphthoquinone, plumbagin and two triterpenoids, lupeol and betulin. (4)
- TLC bioautography guided isolated of n-hexane partition isolated lupeol and plumbagin. GC-MS analysis of n-hexane partition showed presence of quinones plumbagin and 7-methyljuglone. (see study below) (5)
- Phytochemical screening of leaf extract yielded carbohydrates, alkaloids, phenols, steroid, saponin glycoside, tannin, and reducing sugar, with absence of starch, lipid, protein and amino acids , and anthocyanins. Quantitative estimations yielded carbohydrates (54.36), alkaloid  (17.68), phenol (19.85), steroid (28.14), tannin (20.59), reducing sugar (65.77) and non-reducing sugar (63.22). (6)

- Studies have suggest antioxidant and antibacterial properties.

Parts used
Roots, leaves, seeds.


- Fruits edible; usually eaten ripe.
- In India, used for teeth problems; seeds used for skin diseases. (3)
- In Thailand, boiled roots eaten for gastrointestinal complaints. (8)
- Used for diarrhea and dysentery.
- In India, the Ao Naga tribe chew fresh leaves for diarrhea. Leaf decoction used for treatment of hepatitis.
- Poison: Seeds used as fish poison. (Principles may involve naphthoquinone derivatives i.e., biplumbagin and chitranone.) Crushed fruits and roots used in stream to poison fish.

- Wood: Hard and durable. Used for house construction.

Antioxidant / Leaves:
Study evaluated the nutraceutical and antioxidant activity of leaves of Diospyros lanceifolia using DPPH free radicals. Methanol extract showed IC50 of 76.74 µg/ml.
Antibacterial / Leaves: An n-hexane partition of Diospyros lanceifolia showed antibacterial activity against susceptible S. aureus and P. aeruginosa with MICs of 156 µg/mL, antibiotic sensitive E. coli, MRSA and MDRSA with MICs of 312 µg/mL, and S. typhimurium with MIC of 625 µg/mL. TLC bioautography guided isolated of n-hexane partition isolated lupeol and plumbagin. (5)


February 2024

                                                 PHOTOS / ILLUSTRATIONS
IMAGE SOURCE: Diospyros lanceifolia / Anonymous : Royal Botanic Garden Edinburg / CC BY NC / Click on image or link to go to source page / Pl@ntNet
IMAGE SOURCE: Diospyros lanceifolia - leaves with close-up of fruit / Anonymous : Royal Botanic Garden Edinburg / CC BY NC / Image modified / Click on image or link to go to source page / Pl@ntNet

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Diospyros lanceifolia / KEW: Plants of the World Online
Diospyros lanceifolia / edited by Pieter B. Pelser, July 2022 / Co's Digital Flora of the Philippines.
Foliar nutraceutical and antioxidant property of Diospyros lanceifolia Roxb. (Ebenaceae) – An important medicinal plant of Assam, India / Dipjyoti Kalita, N Devi, D Baishya / International Advanced Research Journal in Science, Engineering and Technlogy, 2016; 3(3) / eISSN: 2393-8021 / pISSN: 2394-1588
/ Surattana Amnuoypol, Rapepol Bavovada / The Thai Journal of Pharmaceutical Scienced, 1987; 12(3) 
Biological and Phytochemical Analysis of Three Medicinally Important Plants: Prunus persica, Diospyros lanceifolia and Holboellia latifolia / Teresa Malewska / Thesis: 2019 - Department of Molecular Sciences, Maquarie University, Sydney
Comparative Preliminary Foliar Phytochemical Screening of Diospyros malabrica (Desr.) Kostel and Diospyros lanceifolia Roxb. / Kalita Dipjyoti, Devi Nilakshee, Baishya Debabrata / International Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemical Research,  2016; 8(2): pp 239-243 / ISSN: 0975-4873
Diospyros lanceifolia / Dr. Chandra Barooah, Iftikher Ahmed / India Biodiversity Portal
Ethnobotanical knowledge of medicinal plants in the Don Pu Ta Forest by Kaloeng Ethnic Group, Sakon Nakhon Province, Northeastern Thailand / Sombat Appamaraka et al / BIODIVERSITAS, 2023; 24(8): pp 4617-4635 / eISSN: 2085-4722 / pISSN: 1412-033X / DOI: 10.10357/biodiv/d240844
INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE OF AO NAGA TRIBE ON SOME FOLK MEDICINAL PLANTS USED IN HEALTH MANAGEMENT / Kitila Walling, Kaushal Kumar Jha, Limasunep Ozukum et al / International Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 2021; 13(4): pp 10696-10699 / eISSN: 0975-9107 / pISSN: 0975-3710
Diospyros lanceifolia / Medicinal Plants Classified in the Family Ebenaceae
Diospyros / Wikipedia

DOI: It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

                                                            List of Understudied Philippine Medicinal Plants
                                          New plant names needed
The compilation now numbers over 1,300 medicinal plants. While I believe there are hundreds more that can be added to the collection, they are becoming more difficult to find. If you have a plant to suggest for inclusion, native or introduced, please email the info: scientific name (most helpful), local plant name (if known), any known folkloric medicinal use, and, if possible, a photo. Your help will be greatly appreciated.

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