Scientific name: Neesia altissima
Family name: Malvaceae
Bengang trees in Taman Tugu
The Bengang tree is an indigenous rainforest tree that are amongst the 4,100 trees added to the Taman Tugu site, selected in collaboration with Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (“FRIM”) and Malaysian Nature Society (“MNS”).
The Bengang tree is an evergreen tree that can grow more than 40m with trunk diameter of more than 1.2 m. The bark is slightly grooved and grayish brown color. The leaves are alternate, simple, obovate-oblong with obtuse or retired apex, entire margin and prominent, coriaceous pinnate nerves, with an intense green color above, gray-green and pubescent below. The inflorescences occur at the axilla of fallen leaves carrying small flowers enclosed in buds by a deciduous epicalice. The cup-shaped and corolla-shaped chalice with 5 precociously deciduous petals, oblong with obtuse apex, pinkish-white, and numerous stamens joined to the base. The fruits are ovoid-pentangonal capsules with pointed, woody apex, externally covered with pyramidal tubercles of dark brown colour, dehiscent at the apex in 5 valves, containing numerous ellipsoid seeds black with yellow aril; the inner walls are thickly covered with irritating orange hairs.
The Bengang tree is suitable for parks and large gardens of the tropical and subtropical climate zones. The wood is used in the construction of houses, furniture, musical instruments, and in the manufacture of plywood. The fruits are locally used medicinally as diuretics.
This tropical/ sub-tropical trees grow in the primary rainforests, often along the banks of rivers, up to about 1,800m in altitude. These trees are native to Peninsular Malaysia, Borneo, Singapore, Java, Sumatra, and Thailand.