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coastal plants
Fagraea racemosa

Family Gentianaceae/Loganiaceae

updated Sep 09
Where seen? This beautiful bush can grow tall. It is commonly seen along the forest trail to Chek Jawa. It is considered common throughout Malaya especially in lowlying swampy ground. According to Hsuan Keng, it was found in secondary forest in Changi and Kranji.

Features: A shrub to small tree (2-3m). Bark pale and somewhat fissured. Leaves are large (15-30cm), fleshy and leathery, dark green and glossy. Flowers (2cm wide) white crowded on a spike (6-14cm long) that emerges under the leaves. Fruits oval with a pointed tip. According to Corners, there is a variety with the flowers more loosely arranged on the inflorescence. It flowers seasonally, usually twice a year.

Human uses: According to Burkill the plant is "much used by the Malays in medicine", and its name "Sepuleh" means "the restorer" in Malay. The roots are used in a treatment for fever, leaves used in a tonic, to treat fevers, rheumatism. It so closely resembles a coffee bush that it is also called the False coffee plant or 'Kopi Hutan' which means 'Coffee of the Forest'. But none of its uses involve anything vaguely similar to that of real coffee.

Status and threats: This plant is listed as 'Endangered' in the Red List of threatened plants of Singapore.

Chek Jawa, Jul 07

Chek Jawa, Mar 02
Chek Jawa, Oct 01

Chek Jawa, May 09

Chek Jawa, May 09

Chek Jawa, Dec 09

Chek Jawa, Dec 09

Sepuleh on Singapore shores

Photos of Sepuleh for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map


  • Hsuan Keng, S.C. Chin and H. T. W. Tan. 1990, The Concise Flora of Singapore: Gymnosperms and Dicotyledons. Singapore University Press. 222 pp.
  • Corners, 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.
  • Burkill, 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.
  • Davison, 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.
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