Scientific name: Gordonia penangensis
Family name: Theaceae
Gordonia penangensis trees in Taman Tugu
The Gordonia penangensis 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”).
This tree is closely related to the Singapore Gordonia (Gordonia singaporeana) and thus would share the following similar features. It is an evergreen tree up to about 31m tall, with black, scaly bark.Its foliage consists of spirally arranged, stalked leaves that have thinly leathery leaf blades that are elliptic or oblong-lance-shaped, and withering dull red. The leaf blades also have margins that are round-toothed or saw-toothed.Its flowers consist of stalked fleshy flowers, scentless, and found singly in the upper leaf axils. The cream-white-petalled flowers open at dusk, with the petals falling off the next morning.Its woody fruits are oblong, and mature from green to brown. The ripe fruits split from the tip to base into five parts to reveal flat, winged seeds.
The timber from this tree is used in light construction such as building boats. It is also suitable as a park tree for its ornamental flowers.
It grows in primary and mature secondary forests, from lowlands up to 1,300 m altitude. It occurs locally in Malaysia especially in Penang, hence the epithet “penangansis” in its scientific name.