Scientific name: Cratoxylum cochinchinense
Family name: Guttifarae/Hypericaceae
Derum Seluncor trees in Taman Tugu
Derum Seluncor tree is an indigenous rainforest species found amongst the 4,100 trees added to the Taman Tugu site, selected in collaboration with the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (“FRIM”) and Malaysian Nature Society (“MNS”).
The Derum Seluncor tree is a deciduous shrub with a diameter of up to 0.65m and a height between 1.5- 18m, although it can get as high as 33m. It has a smooth bark which can be flaky and ranges in colour from light buff to pale brownish-yellow. Its oval to oblong/lance-shaped leaves are stalked and arranged oppositely, possessing fleshy to papery leaf blades. When young, its leaf blades are deep purple, then pinkish-brown. When it matures, the leaf blades turn green above and grey-green beneath. Its flowers have a slight fragrance, with petals ranging in from deep crimson to pink/pinkish-yellow in colour. Usually found in pairs, they grow on flowering shoots at branch tips or in the angles of leaves. Its fruits are brown and oval in shape. Each fruit contains many seeds that are drop-shaped to oval/oblong.
The Derum Seluncor has numerous uses. Its wood is very hard and durable, making it ideal for woodcuts. Its young fruit can be used as a spice in cooking, while its young shoots can be eaten raw. Its young leaves are used as a substitute for tea and its roots, bark and twigs have been used to treat colds and diarrhea.
These tropical and sub-tropical trees grow at altitudes of up to 500m in well-drained soils, typically located in grasslands, primary and secondary forests, peat swamps and river banks. These trees are native to Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, southern China, Myanmar, and Indochina.