Where seen? A pretty tree with fresh green leaves and bright
red fruit, it is a rare tree. There are several on the rocky cliffsides
of Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin. According to Hugh Tan, it is also found
on St. John's Island. It was previously found on Changi and Pulau
Ubin. Elsewhere, it grows on rocky and sandy coasts and is common
in lowland forests of Malaysia. It was previously known as Knema
missionis or Knema sphaerula.
Features: A tall tree (4-5m to
a maximum of 24m). Bark brown to dark green and smooth-scaly to scaly.
Twigs are slender and at first rusty scrufy turning dark brown or
Leaves eye-shaped (4-5cm long) leathery and thin, hairy beneath and
Flowers tiny (0.5cm) brown and woolly on the outside.
Fruits globular (1-2cm) with a thin skin, when ripe, splitting to
reveal a bright red and pulpy aril which probably attract birds that
disperse the seed within.
Human uses: According to Burkill, the wood is not durable
but it is sometimes used for rafters.
Status and threats: Previously
thought to be extinct, with the discoveries of some trees in Pulau
Ubin and St. John's Island it is now listed as 'Critically Endangered'
in the Red List of threatened plants of Singapore.
nutmeg on Singapore shores
- 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.
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.
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.
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.