Description from Flora of China
Combretum indicum (Linnaeus) Jongkind; Kleinia quadricolor Crantz; Mekistus sinensis Loureiro ex B. A. Gomes; Ourouparia enormis Yamamoto; Quisqualis glabra N. L. Burman; Q. grandiflora Miquel; Q. indica var. oxypetala Kurz; Q. indica var. villosa (Roxburgh) C. B. Clarke; Q. longiflora C. Presl; Q. loureiroi G. Don; Q. obovata Schumacher & Thon ning; Q. pubescens N. L. Burman; Q. sinensis Lindley; Q. spinosa Blanco; Q. villosa Roxburgh.
Lianas to 8 m tall. Branchlets brownish yellow pubescent. Petiole 5-9 mm, without an inflated joint near base, densely brown pilose when young; leaf blade mostly oblong-elliptic or elliptic, 5-18 × 2.5-7 cm, abaxially sometimes brown pilose, adaxially glabrous except slightly brown pilose on midvein, finely white verruculose, rarely tomentose on both surfaces, base obtuse, apex acuminate to shortly caudate; lateral veins in 7 or 8 pairs. Inflorescences lax; bracts deciduous, filiform-linear to ovate, 3-12 mm, brown pilose. Flowers fragrant. Calyx tube 5-9 cm, yellow pilose; lobes deltoid, 2-3 mm, apex acute or shortly acuminate but not cuspidate. Petals opening white, later turning yellowish abaxially and reddish adaxially, obovate to oblanceolate, 10-24 × 4-10 mm, apex rounded to obtuse. Fruit red when young, greenish black or brown when ripe, fusiform or narrowly ovoid, sharply 5-ridged, 2.7-4 × 1.2-2.3 cm, glabrous, apex mucronate. Fl. Mar-Nov, fr. Jun-Nov.
This species is cultivated in China as an ornamental. The seeds are used medicinally to kill intestinal parasites.
Quisqualis indica is variable in its indumentum and in the shape and size of its bracts. Most Chinese specimens with bracts still attached have linear-lanceolate to filiform-linear bracts. In this respect, these plants correspond with Q. indica var. villosa , as defined by Lecompte (in Aubréville, Fl. Cambodge Laos Vietnam 10: 22-31. 1969), who described var. indica as having ovate to lanceolate bracts. In FRPS (53(1): 17. 1984), var. villosa was said to have ovate leaf blades, tomentose on both surfaces (vs. elliptic or ovate, abaxially sometimes brown pilose, and adaxially glabrous in var. indica).
Four specimens from Guangdong (Deqing, Guangzhou, Nanhai, and Xingning), at least three of which are from cultivated plants, have a shorter calyx tube, 3-5 cm, and smaller petals, 8-9 × 3-4.5 mm, than is normal for Quisqualis indica. It is possible that these belong to Q. indica var. pierrei (Gagnepain) O. Lecompte (Q. pierrei Gagnepain), described from S Vietnam, which differs from var. indica in having smaller flowers of about these dimensions and, strikingly, in having fruit with 5 broad, papery wings 1-1.5 cm wide. However, because the specimens lack fruit, this determination is only tentative.
Rain forests, low woods, thickets, hedges, mountains, dry hillsides, riversides, roadsides, wasteland, also cultivated; below 1500 m. Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Hunan, S Jiangxi, Sichuan, Taiwan, Yunnan; cultivated in Zhejiang [Bangladesh, Cambodia, India (including Andaman Islands), Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam; coastal E Africa, Indian Ocean islands, Pacific islands; introduced to other parts of tropical Africa and Central and South America; widely cultivated and often naturalized in the tropics].