pong pong tree
updated Jan 13
Where seen? This tree with pretty white star-shaped flowers
and large round fruits is widely planted along our roadsides and in
our parks. It is also sometimes seen growing wild in our mangroves,
seashores and tidal rivers. According to Giesen, it is found in coastal
forest and landward margins of mangroves and along rivers. It has
a limited salt tolerance, and occurs on clays or sandy soils.
Features: Tree up to 12-15m tall,
but in Singapore usually shorter. Produces a white sap from all broken
plant parks. Bark fissured, flaky, grey to brown with lenticels, often
with buttress roots.
Leaves oval (12-30cm long) dark green and glossy, held in dense spirals
at the tips of the twigs. Leaves wither orange brown.
Flowers (5-7cm) white with a yellowish centre, appearing at the tips
of the twigs.
Fruits globular or mango-shaped (5-7cm) glossy hard. Green ripening
pink, rosy purple and finally black. Each fruit contains one poisonous
seed. The fruits float and 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
Human uses: See the fact sheets on Cerbera
species in general for more about their uses.
Status and threats: This tree
is listed as 'Vulnerable' on the Red List of threatened plants of
Pulau Semakau, Dec 08
Pulau Semakau, Feb 09
Park, Sep 09
Park, Sep 09
Park, Mar 11
Sisters Island, Aug 09
Sungei Pandan, Jun 09
Pong pong trees on Singapore shores
odollam on Total Vascular Flora of Singapore Online: photos
and fact sheet.
odollam on the NParks Flora and Fauna website: photos
and fact sheet.
- 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.
- Tee Swee
Ping and Wee Mei Lynn (eds). 2001. Trees of our Garden City.
National Parks Board. 202 pp.
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.