Butterfruit / Mentega
Scientific name: Diospyros discolor
Family name: Ebenaceae
Mentega trees in Taman Tugu
The Mentega 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”). It was added to the site to cultivate biodiversity as the fruits are eaten by mammals such as monkeys and squirrels.
The Mentega tree is an evergreen tree, with a conical crown, and can grow to a height of 7–15m tall. The diameter of the trunk usually grows between 50-80 cm wide when fully matures. Its stalked, leathery, alternate leaves are oblong in shape, 8-30cm long by 2.5-12cm wide, with rounded base anda pointed tip. The upper surface is dark-green and shiny, while the lower surface is silvery and hairy. The young leaves are pinkish in colour.
It is a dioecious plant, with separate plants bearing male or female flowers. The urn-shaped male flowers are borne on axillary cymes, in small clusters of 3-7 flowers. The corolla is four-lobed and creamy white. The urn-shaped female flowers are similar in appearance to the male flowers, except that they are solitary, and slightly larger than the male flowers.Its fruits are fleshy berries that are round or slightly flattened on one side. 5-12 cm by 8-10 cm, with a reddish brown velvet skin and creamy white to yellow flesh that is sweet and aromatic. The fruits are said to emit a strong odour that resembles cheese.
The tree is suitable for growing in parks, gardens, and along roads for its attractive conical, dense crown and reddish brown velvety fruits. It is also said to be very resistant to typhoons.
It grows in primary and secondary forests in Malaysia and Philippines, from low to medium altitudes.