Family • Myrsinaceae - Ardisia squamulosa Presl - SHOEBUTTON ARDISIA - Dong fa zi jin jiu

Scientific names

Willughbeia drupacea Blanco
Ardisia squamulosa Presl
Ardisia boissieri A. DC.
Ardisia obovata F.-Vill.
Ardisia drupacea Merr.
Ardisia littoralis Merr.
Ardisia humilis F.-Vill.
Ardisia negroensis Mez
Ardisia elliptica Thunberg

Other vernacular names

CHINESE: Lan yu zi jin niu, Dong fa zi jin niu.
INDIA: Bisi, Kadna, Katapenga, Bugadi, Manipudbam, Kozhkkottai, Narikandam, Kaka-njara, Bodhina gida, Shuli, Bode, Sore, Banjam, Kuti, Damaai phal.
MALAYSIA: Buah letus, Cempenai, Lempenai, Mempenai, Penai, Penah, Periah, rempenai, Daun bias hati, Kayu lampilan, Mata pelandok.
NEPAL: Damai phul.

Common names

Apiot (Mbo.)
Babagion (C. Bis.)
Butau (Bik.)
Dandulit (Sul.)
Kanai (Tagb.)
Katagpo (Tag.)
Katagpok (Tag.)
Katatbun (Tag.)
Katiñgi (Bon.)
Kodang (Mbo.)
Kolagpung-pula (Sbl.)
Kolen (Ilk.)
Koleng (Ilk.)
Liputing-gubat (Tag.)
Lunidang (Tag.)
Malasiak (Bik.)
Malayambis (Tag.)
Mampa (Neg.)
Maramaatam (Ibn.)
Mulang (Ibn.)
Oksor (Ilk.)
Pamutul (Sbl.)
Panghas (P. Bis.)
Paninglon (Sbl.)
Pataktol (Pamp.)
Piñgil (Neg.)
Pognaan (Mbo.)
Sirapian (Bik.)
Tagpo (Tag., Bik., C. Bis., Sul.)
Tagpung-pula (Tag.)
Takpo (Bik.)
Tamil (C. Bis.)
Tayupo (C. Bis.)
Tukal (Tag.)
Turo (Pamp.)
Duck’s eye (Engl.)
Elliptical-leaf ardisia (Engl.)
Shoebutton ardisia (Engl.)

Tagpo is a small tree reaching a height of about 10 meters. Leaves are alternate, oblanceolate to elliptic-oblanceolate, 6 to 15 centimeters long, 2 to 6 centimeters wide, and pointed at both ends. Flowers are white or pink, fragrant, borne on compound, terminal or lateral inflorescences, and about 1 centimeter in length. Fruit is dark blue or purple, rounded, and 5 to 8 millimeters in diameter.


– Common in primary forests at low and medium altitudes, ascending to 1,000 meters throughout the Philippines.
– Occurs in India, Sri-Lanka, Indo-China, Malaysia, Indonesia and New Guinea.


– Vulnerary, febrifuge, anti-diarrheal.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) The genus Ardisia: a novel source of health-promoting compounds and phytopharmaceuticals / Hideka Kobayashi and Elvira de Mejia / Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 96, Issue 3, 15 January 2005, Pages 347-354 / doi:10.1016/j.jep.2004.09.037

(2) In vitro anti-herpes simplex viruses and anti-adenoviruses activity of twelve traditionally used medicinal plants in Taiwan / Lien-Chai Chiang, Hua-Yew Cheng et al / Biological & pharmaceutical bulletin, Vol 26 / 2003 Nov

(3) Anti-Salmonella activity of constituents of Ardisia elliptica Thunb. / Methin Phadungkit, Omboon Luanratana / Natural Product Research (2006), Volume: 20, Issue: 7, Pages: 693-696

(4) Ardisia squamulosa C.Presl is a synonym of Ardisia elliptica Thunb. / The Plant List

(5) Ardisia elliptica / Vernacular names / GLOBinMED

(6) Chemical and Pharmacological Studies of Ardisia Elliptica: Antiplatelet, Anticoagulant Activities and Multivariate Data Analysis for Drug Discovery / Ching Jianhong / Thesis, 2011

(7) Beta-amyrin from Ardisia elliptica Thunb. is more potent than aspirin in inhibiting collagen-induced platelet aggregation/ Ching J, Chua TK, Chin LC, Lau AJ, Pang YK, Jaya JM, Tan CH, Koh HL. / Indian J Exp Biol. 2010 Mar;48(3):275-9.

(8) Antioxidant Activities of Syzygium Cumini and Ardisia Elliptica in Relation to Their Estimated Phenolic Compositions and Chromatic Properties / A. M. Siti-Azima, A. Noriham, and M. Nurhuda / IJBBB 2013 Vol.3(4): 314-317 ISSN: 2010-3638 / DOI: 10.7763/IJBBB.2013.V3.221

(9) Ardisia elliptica / Edible Medicinal And Non-Medicinal Plants: Volume 4, Fruits / By Tong Kwee Lim / GoogleBooks

(10) Antioxidant and antidiarrheal activities of ethanol extract of Ardisia elliptica fruits / Shubhra Kanti Dey, Arpona Hira, Md. Sariful Islam Howlader, Arif Ahmed, Hemayet Hossain, and Ismet Ara Jahan / doi:10.3109/13880209.2013.826245)

(11) Acute and Subchronic Toxicity Study of Ardisia ellipica Thunb. Fruit Extract / Nalinphat Saktiyasunthorn, Songpol Chivapat, Pornchai Sincharoenpokai, Anudep Rungsipipat, Nongnuth Maneechai, Boonyanee Suphaphon, Aussavashai Shuayprom / The Thai Journal of Veterinary Medicine, Vol 42, No 2 (2012)

Tagpo3Parts used

– Flowers and fruits cooked as flavoring for fish.

– In the Philippines, leaves used on wounds.
– Malays use a decoction of leaves for treatment of chest pains, fever, diarrhea, and parturition problems; roots may be substituted for the same use.
– Plant used for complications of parturition, liver poisoning, fever, and diarrhea.

Study Findings
• Health-Promoting Compounds / Phytopharmaceuticals: Species of Ardisia are a rich source of novel and potent phytochemical compounds, such as bergenin and ardisin. Report reviews the usage and biological activities of Ardisia compounds.
• Anti-Herpes Simplex Virus / Anti-Adenovirus: In a search for new antiviral agents from traditional medicine, the hot water extracts of 12 traditionally used medicinal plants in Taiwan, including Ardisia squamulosa, showed anti-HSV and anti-ADV activities. A. squamulosa was more effective in inhibiting ADV-8 replication than the other four viruses.
• Antibacterial / Anti-Salmonella: Study of dried fruit extracts yielded three compounds, viz., syringic acid, isorhamnetic and quercetin, which showed activity against veterinary Salmonella.
• Antiplatelet / α- and ß-Amyrin: A methanol extract yielded two compounds, viz., α- and ß-amyrin, and screened for antiplatelet activity. The pharmacokinetics and multivariate date analysis predicted both α- and ß-amyrin to be antiplatelet.
• Aspirin VS ß-Amyrin in Inhibition of Platelet Aggregation: Study investigated the effect of fresh leaves extracts of A. elliptica on collagen induced platelet aggregation and to isolate and purify potential antiplatelet components. Fractionation isolated and purified ß-amyrin. Results suggest ß-amyrin was the bioactive component, which was more potent than aspirin in inhibiting collagen-induced platelet aggregation.
• Antioxidant: Study evaluated the antioxidant activities in Syzygium cumini and Ardisia ellipitica using various assays in relation to total flavonoid, phenolic, and anthocyanin contents. Total flavonoid content and anthocyanin content exhibited a very strong relationship with FRAP, ABTS, and DPPH scavenging activities, and A. elliptica showed better in chromatic properties compared to Syzygium cumini.
• Antimicrobial: Study has shown Ardisia elliptica to have antimicrobial activity. A hexane extract of leaves yielded hydrocarbons, apolar and polar fatty esters, triterpenoid alcohols (bauerenol, α- and ß-amyrin), sterols (ß-sitosterol) and polar compounds. Polar fraction showed most effective activity against P. aeruginosa and nine other bacteria.
• Anticancer Activity: Ardisia elliptica plant extract was 1 of 9 Thai medicinal plants that exhibited antiproliferative activity against SKBR3 human breast adenocarcinoma cell line using MTT assay.
• Antidiarrheal / Antioxidant: Study evaluated a crude ethanol extract for antioxidant and antidiarrheal activities. Results showed significant DPPH radical scavenging activity. The extract also showed a significant protection against experimentally induced diarrhea by castor oil and magnesium sulfate.
• Toxicity Testing / Fruits: Study evaluated the safety of an ethanolic extract of A. elliptica fruits in animal models. Results showed no acute or subchronic toxicity in experimental animals.