air laut or Sea
Where seen? This large and handsome tree which mass flowers
once a year is commonly planted. It is also sometimes seen wild on
our shores. According to Hsuan Keng, it was common on sandy and rocky
shores and is a widely planted roadside tree. According to Corners,
it is never wild inland. A coastal tree that is found throughout the
Malay Peninsula and Thailand, Indo-China, Myanmar and Borneo. It was
previously known as Eugenia grandis.
Features: A tall tree (to 30m)
that grows quickly. Crown oblong to irregular. Leaves shiny, leathery
(12-18cm) with short stalks and distinctly downturned tip and 9-13
well spaced pairs of veins. The leaves are arranged opposite, in pairs.
No stipules and no latex from broken parts. The trees flower at the
same time after a dry season, usually once, sometimes twice a year.
The white flowers are pom-pom like with white petals and many white
stamens, appearing in clusters. They last 4-5 days. Corners describes
them as having a 'sickly sweet' fragrance, and the mass flowering
as 'most striking', with 'the crown whitened as with snow'. Fruits
oblong to almost spherical (1.5-4cm), green leathery skin when ripe
with a single seed. Bark is rough, greyish and shallowly fissured
and somewhat flaky. The base of the trunk may be fluted but never
Role in the habitat: The flowers
are pollinated by insects and the fruits are 'eagerly sought after'
by monkeys, bats and birds who disperse the seeds.
Sometimes other similar trees are mistaken
for the Sea apple. There are more than 1,000 species of similar trees
in Africa and Asia.
Human uses: According to Wee, the timber is used in ship
and house building. According to Burkill, it was planted extensively
in Singapore in the 1800's as fire breaks as it is resistant to lallang
Heritage Trees: There is one Sea
apple with Heritage
Tree status. It is found at Sentosa (Fort Siloso) with a girth
of 5.6m and height of 29m.
Jawa, Oct 09
Jong, Apr 11
Jong, Apr 11
- Hsuan Keng,
S.C. Chin and H. T. W. Tan. 1990, The
Concise Flora of Singapore: Gymnosperms and Dicotyledons.
Singapore University Press. 222 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.
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.
- Tee Swee
Ping and Wee Mei Lynn (eds). 2001. Trees of our Garden City.
National Parks Board. 202 pp.
- Wee Yeow
Chin. 2003. Tropical Trees and Shrubs: A Selection for Urban
Plantings. Sun Tree Publishing. 392pp.