The 'Kemunting' or Rose Myrtle shrub at Sarawak's Biodiversity Centre's car park, Kuching.
Loves open and sunny locations and not particulary choosy on soil conditions.
The fruits when ripe are eaten fresh by birds and children alike.In October I went to the Sarawak Biodiversity Centre, Kuching to collect some information about wild bananas. At the Centre's car park I was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon this rose myrtle ( rhondomyrtus tomentosa) shrub or locally known as 'Kemunting'. This is a local shrub though it's equally distributed in other parts of South East Asia and sub-tropical regions like Florida. I have been hunting a long time ( like 10 years) for a good specimen. Well, this specimen was excellent and almost perfect in that it was about its maximum height .i.e. about 3 m. The reason I like to encourage the cultivation and use of this plant as an ornamental shrub in our Laman Kambatik ( Malaysian Garden) is mainly in respect of its pretty lilac flowers and delicious sweet berries that are attractive to wildlife. By growing this shrub around our urban as well as rural gardens we will able to attract more birds, bees and butterflies to our immediate environment. It is extremely hardy, produces flowers and fruits all year round.
The pretty pink flowers are 5-petalled and the oblong fruits ( 10-15 mm long and 5-10 mm wide) are pale green when young and upon ripening changes to purplish red or maroon red. Note the flower's many stamens.
Its fruits are also processed into jam and jelly.
All its young parts especiallly its leaves, twigs and fruits are covered with a thin layer of white tomentose ( fine hairs ) hence the name - rhondomyrtus tomentosa. ( Synonym = myrtus tomentosa)