Fragraea fragrans commonly known as the Tembusu, is from the family Longaniaceae is native to Indochina, including Singapore!
This large evergreen tree with unique perpendicular branching is able to reach a height of 40m. The crown is fairly conical when young, but later grows into a lofty and irregular shape.
Smooth, glossy leaves are oval-shaped with smooth leaf margin. They are 5-8 cm in length and having a width of 1.5-6 cm. The leaves often have a distinct drip tip.
Trumpet-shaped flowers of the Tembusu are about 2 cm wide. Initially creamy white, the flowers gradually turns yellow and finally light orange when old. Each flower is made up of 5 triangular petals and about 5mm long, and white stamens that extend well past the petals. About 15-20 flowers are grouped together in clusters known as pedicel that are located at the branch tips. They open at night, releasing a strong fragrance that lasts till the following morning. The flowers are pollinated by nocturnal moths.
Round berries about 1 cm wide gradually turns from green, orange and then red over about 3 months. They are consumed by birds and bats which promote seed dispersal through their feces. The fruit contains numerous tiny reddish- brown seeds
A photograph of the finest Tembusu in the Singapore Botanic Gardens can be found on the back of the $5 note. It is one of Singapore’s very own Heritage Tree and is reportedly more than 150 years old. The wood is a rich golden brown and is extremely durable and resistant to termite attacks. It is often used in Singapore to make chopping boards.