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Perennial. Monoecious (having both the male and female reproductive organs). A rapidly growing warm season crop, katuk is a dark green leaf understory shrub. Growth slows during the colder months.
Reaching up to 3.5 m in height, but is kept much lower in cultivation. It has side branches appearing to be pinnately divided branches, but with rose to carmine radiate flowers on the underside, a white or pinkish fruit opening at ripening to release three black seeds. It is well adapted to lowland tropical conditions and in Indonesia and Java it occurs from sea level to 1300 m in elevation. 1