pong pong tree
updated Jan 13
Where seen? This beautiful tree with pretty pink-eyed white
flowers is rare. Even in the past it was rare, among the locations
where it was found were Pasir Panjang and Katong, shores now already
reclaimed. It now found in the wild on Chek Jawa, with a large stand
at Pulau Semakau. They are also planted at St. John's Island. According
to Giesen, it is found in coastal swamp forests or on beaches, preferring
well drained sandy soils, exposure to sea breezes but not regularly
inundated by tides.
Features: Tree up to 15-20m tall,
but in Singapore usually shorter. Produces a white sap from all broken
plant parts. Bark fissured, flaky, grey to brown with lenticels.
Leaves oval (12-30cm long) dark green and glossy, held in dense spirals
at the tips of the twigs. Leaves generally smaller than that of the
more common Yellow-eyed Pong pong tree (Cerbera
Flowers (3-4.5cm) white with pink centre, first orange pink then reddish
pink. The flowers appear at the tips of the twigs.
Fruits mango-shaped or oblong (5-7cm) glossy hard, often paired. Green
ripening pink, rosy purple and finally black. The fruits float are
dispersed by water. When they wash up, often only the fibrous husk
is left, around a hard stone.
It is the caterpillar host-plant of the King Crow butterfly (Euploea
uses: See the fact sheets on Cerbera
species in general for more about their uses.
Status and threats: The tree
is listed as 'Critically Endangered' on the Red List of threatened
plants of Singapore.
Near the high
on a natural rocky shore.
Chek Jawa, Oct 09
Semakau, Sep 09
Semakau, Feb 09
Planted in park.
St. John's Island, Jul 09
Pong pong trees on Singapore shores
on the NParks Flora and Fauna website: photos and fact sheets.
- Giesen, Wim
and Stephan Wulffraat, Max Zieren and Liesbeth Scholten. 2006.
Guidebook for Southeast Asia (PDF online downloadable).
RAP publication 2006/07 Food and Agriculture Organization of the
United Nations Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific Bangkok.
- Hsuan Keng,
S.C. Chin and H. T. W. Tan. 1990, The
Concise Flora of Singapore: Gymnosperms and Dicotyledons.
Singapore University Press. 222 pp.
- Tan, Hugh
T.W. and T. Morgany. 2001. Growing
the Native Plants of Singapore. BP Science Centre Guidebook.
E. J. H., 1997. Wayside
Trees of Malaya: in two volumes.
Fourth edition, Malayan Nature Society, Kuala Lumpur. Volume 1:
1-476 pp, plates 1-38; volume 2: 477-861 pp., plates 139-236.
P. B., 1986. The
Botany of Mangroves
Cambridge University Press. USA. 419 pp.
I. H., 1993. A
Dictionary of the Economic Products of the Malay Peninsula.
3rd printing. Publication Unit, Ministry of Agriculture, Malaysia,
Kuala Lumpur. Volume 1: 1-1240; volume 2: 1241-2444.
G.W. H. and P. K. L. Ng and Ho Hua Chew, 2008. The Singapore
Red Data Book: Threatened plants and animals of Singapore.
Nature Society (Singapore). 285 pp.
- Wee Yeow
Chin. 1992. A
Guide to Medicinal Plants. The Singapore Science Centre.