Where seen? A shrub or small tree, it is seen growing wild
on some of our undisturbed shores and back mangroves. According to
Hsuan Keng, they were found in Changi, Jurong, Pasir Panjang and Pulau
Seletar. According to Giersen, these plants are found throughout the
tropics. It is also known as Tallow-wood or Tallowwood.
Features: A shrub or small tree
up to 2-4m tall. Bark greyish brown with red cork and rounded lenticels.
Leaves oval (3-4cm) thick leathery with a short stalk. The crushed
leaves have a strong smell of almonds as they contain cyanide. There
are thorns in the leaf axils.
Flowers small (2-2.5cm) white and hairy, grows in clusters.
Fruits oval (2-2.5cm) thin-skinned, green ripening yellow to orange
with firm green flesh. The fruits are edible but very sour and contains
a hard stone. According to Giersen, the seeds are dispersed by birds
and by the sea.
uses: According to Burkill, the sour fruits are eaten fresh
or pickled. They are also used as a substitute for lemon with fish.
The seed is oily and the oil is used in cooking in southern India.
The nuts are eaten but have a strong purgative effect so ony a few
can be taken at a time; "many cause deleterious effects".
The crushed leaves smell of bitter almonds and are sometimes used
as flavouring by the Dutch who lived in the tropics. The pounded roots
are used to treat colic, in Africa the pounded bark is used treat
sores on animals and used to keep insects away. The hard, heavy timber
is pleasantly scented when freshly cut and is thus sometimes powdered
and used as a substitute for sandalwood in India.
Pulau Semakau, Dec 04
Pulau Semakau, Dec 04
fruits on the shore.
Pulau Ubin, Jul 09
laut on Singapore shores
americana on Total Vascular Flora of Singapore Online:
photos and fact sheet.
americana 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.
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.
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.