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)