Onjon or Iron-wood tree, Memecylon edule

Onjon or Iron-wood tree (Memecylon edule, family: Melastomataceae) is a large evergreen shrub or small-sized tree with numerous woody branches, attaining a height of 4 m. Bark is brownish. Its flowering beauty is incomparable. It is one of the most spectacular flowering shurbs among Indian subcontinent. The original home of the bushy plant is Southwestern India, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. It is also found in some countries in South and Southeast Asia. 

Leaves are dark green, entire, ovate-lanceolate, 6-10 cm long and 3-5 cm wide, glabrous, leathery, apex elongated and subacute, petioled, opposite. 

Flowers are small, blue, clustered in stems or the exils of leaves. Flower is very small, 5 mm wide. Petals 5, sepals 5, stamens 8, calyx tubular, pink or reddish. The flowers bloom in spring and continue until summer. All the branches are covered with bunches of flowers in this time.

Fruit is edible, berry, round, 1 cm wide, initially red and turn deep purple or blackish when ripe. Seeds 1-2. It is propagated by seeds and air-layering. 

The medicinal properties of this plant are mentioned in Ayurveda. In Bangladesh, the shrub is planted in gardens and parks for its extra ordinary blue-colored flowers. When you see its flowers, you will really think that, blue is the warmest color! 


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