Monday, 23 April 2012

Diospyros blancoi

Diospyros blancoi, or also known Butter Fruit, Velvet Persimmon, Mabola and Velvet Apple, originated Philippines. It belongs to the plant family of Ebenaceae.

An evergreen tree that grows up to 35 metres with black and furrowed trunk; it has dark-green leaves that are smooth on the upper surface and hairy underneath. New leaves are showy, pale-green or pink and silky-hairy. Male and female flowers are produced on separate trees as Diospyros blancoi is a dioecious plant species. Its creamy white and fragrant inflorescence has four petals each, in clusters of 0.5 cm in diameter flowers for male and 1 cm in diameter for female. Fruiting occurs two to four months after flowering, each of 5-10 cm wide with velvety and brownish-orange skin which emanates a cheese-like odor.

The fruit’s flesh is used in meat dishes and desserts (jellies and salads etc.). The bark is utilized for handicrafts and furniture, especially for carvings. The tree is also cultivated for beliefs in its medicinal properties; its leaves and bark treat coughs, fevers, diarrhea, skin ailments, heart problems and wounds. Its fruit is a good source of vitamins A, C, and minerals.

Look out for them at the Canoe Shed.


 (Diospyros blancoi found near the canoe shed)

(brownish-orange skin fruit)

Lagerstroemia speciosa

Lagerstroemia speciosa, or also known Giant Crape-myrtle, Queen's Crape-myrtle, Banaba Plant and Pride of India, originated from South East Asia, India and the Philippines. It belongs to the plant family of Lynthraceae.

A deciduous tropical flowering tree that grows up to 20 m tall, with smooth, flaky bark; its leathery leaves are elliptic/oval and about 8-15 cm long. Its inflorescence is panicles of pink and magenta flowers, each with six petals and a yellow center of stamens.  The fruit is oval, about one inch long which is dry at maturity and splits open to release small winged seeds.

Its bark is commercially used and is a valuable timber. A decoction of its dried leaves and fruits is therapeutic against ailments such as diabetes, cholesterol deduction, hypertension kidney- and urinary problems. The taste is pleasant and smooth; in Japan it is known as "slimming tea." Its fresh leaves are also an essential component for emergency tincture of wounds and for sanitizing the surface of the skin. The roots are used for stomach problems and as an astringent.

The information provided above is not intended to be used as a guide for treatment of medical conditions using plants.

Look out for them near the Zig-Zag Point.


 (Lagerstroemia speciosa found near the Zig-Zag Point)

 (Flaky bark)

 (Panicles of pink and magenta flowers)

 (Flower buds)

Saraca cauliflora

Saraca cauliflora, or also known as S. Thaipinensis, Yellow Saraca, Talan and Gapis, originated from Myanmar, Indochina, Peninsular Malaysia, Indonesia (Java) and much of Southeastern Asia. It belongs to the plant family of Fabaceae (Leguminosae).

Saraca cauliflora’s inflorescence consists of clusters of tiny yellow flowers with protruding stamens and pistil and has a habit of flowering on the trunk and branches, fragrant in the evening. A cluster can be up to a foot in diameter. New leaves are soft and in pale pink that slowly stiffen to green. This evergreen tree can grow up to 8 meters with a rounded canopy. It strives in partial to full sun with moderate amount of water.

Look out for them at the Canoe Shed.

(Saraca cauliflora found near the canoe shed)

 (Clusters of yellow inflorescence)

 (The buds before forming into flowers)

Fagraea fragrans

Fagraea fragrans, or also known as Tembusu, originated from Indochina and Malaysia. It belongs to the plant family of Loganiaceae.

Fagraea fragrans is commonly planted in parks and roadside for shade as it is highly robust and can grow even in poorly drained, clayey soils. It grows up to 30-40m and has an irregular shape. Its distinct deeply fissured bark is a tell-tale sign of its identity and provides fire resistance. The leaves are light green and oval-shaped. Inflorescence is clusters of creamy white and trumpet-shaped flowers and has a strong fragrance especially at night. The fruits are round berries at about 1cm each, initially green and red when ripe, are consumed by bats and birds.

These trees produce hard wood and are used as construction material, furniture and chopping boards. The Heritage Tembusu Tree, more than a hundred years old and located at Singapore Botanic Gardens, is featured on the back of Singapore’s five-dollar note. A decoction of twigs and leaves can be used to control dysentery.

Look out for them at various locations in Macritchie Reservoir Park.


 (Fagraea fragrans found near the entrance of Lornie Trail)

(Deeply fissured bark)

 (Light green leaves and clusters of creamy white inflorescence)

 (Trumpet shaped flowers found on the ground)

Filicium decipiens

Filicium decipiens, also known as Fern Tree or Fern-leaf, originated from Sri Lanka. It belongs to the plant family of Sapindaceae.

A small to medium-sized tree that grows up to a maximum 20m in height, it has a dense and rounded crown with distinctive pinnately compound frond-like leaves. Hence the common names, “Fern Tree” or “Fern-leaf”.Leaves are spirally arranged and even-pinnately compound. Leaflets come in 6 to 8 pairs and grow opposite along the stem. The upper surfaces of the leaves are shiny, while the undersides are not.

This tree is dioecious, bearing male and female flowers on the same plant, in separate bunches. Male flowers have 5 stamens with long filaments. Female flowers have a globose superior ovary with a short curved style. Filicium seldom flower or fruit in Singapore. The fruits are small, shiny, and reddish-purple in colour. They are oval shaped and pointed at the tip.

This tree is often selected for its almost perfect natural symmetry and the density of its crown, which provides very good shade. It is also aesthetically pleasing due to its fine, fern-like leaves. Its compact size means it is suitable for small parks and gardens.

Look for Filicium decipiens at the Amenities Centre.


 (Filicium decipiens found at the Reservoir Deck)

 (The trunk of the tree)

 (Leaves are spirally arranged and even-pinnately compound)