Laau fulu (Clidemia hirta) is a member of the Melastomataceae (Melastome) family. It is a hairy shrub that can reach a height of up to 10 ft.; leaves are opposite and unequal, three-nerved from the base; 5 white petals; oval, blue-black, hairy berries. Prefers moist to wet forest in shaded to sunny areas; especially common in disturbed places such as clearings, along trails, and roads.
This shrub crowds out native species and forms a single-species stand on the floor, thus interfering with the water-holding capacity of the soil because soil-binding, mat-forming native mosses, liverworts, and fern die off beneath laau fulu. It is considered highly invasive in disturbed areas because fruits are eaten and dispersed by birds and pigs and the seeds are carried in the soil.
Whistler, W. Arthur. 2002. The Samoan Rainforest: A Guide to the Vegetation of the Samoan Archipelago. Isle Botanica. Honolulu, HI.
Fua lole (Melastoma denticulatum) is a member of the Melastomaceae (Melastome) family. It is a native shrub or small tree that is occasionally found in coastal to montane forests as well as open places. This species has soft, velvety leaves densely covered with short hairs; the flowers, found at the end of the branches, are delicate and white with yellow filaments inside; fruits are round and split open to reveal a purple edible pulp containing many yellow seeds, which are probably eaten by iao or segasegamau’u. It also grows well in high light or in partial shade.
Whistler, W. Arthur. 2000. Plants in Samoan Culture: The Ethnobotany of Samoa. Isle Botanica. Honolulu, HI
Walk from Rio Indio Adventor Lodge to San Juan de Nicaragua, NIcaragua
The family Melastomataceae (alternatively Melastomaceae) is a taxon of dicotyledonous flowering plants found mostly in the tropics (two thirds of the genera are from the New World tropics) comprising some 200 genera and 4500 species. Melastomes are annual or perennial herbs, shrubs, or small trees.