The Makiling Botanic Gardens (MBG) Plant of the Month (POM) for September 2021 is “molave,” scientifically known as Vitex parviflora A.L.Juss. Vitex came from the Latin word vieo, meaning to weave or to tie up, which refers to the use of Vitex agnus-castus in basketry. Parvi is a Latin prefix meaning small or reduced while Flora means flower.
Molave leaves are glabrous trifoliate either alternate or spirally arranges. Some Aita (Pampanga) burned the leaves and stems to repel insects. Molave’s flower is purplish-blue in axillary and terminal panicles. Its fruits are round subglobose with a saucer-like cup and it turns bluish-black when ripe. The tree’s trunk can reach over 60 cm. The outer bark is light brown in color and has distinct fine scales.
Its wood is known for its hardness and durability and is recognized to have antimicrobial, antifungal, antioxidant, and wound-healing properties. It is also used by local people to treat diarrhea and induce vomiting to remedy poison ingestion.
By: AA Limpiada, AC Malayba, & MJE Menorca