Scientific name: Antiaris toxicaria
Family name: Moraceae
Ipoh trees in Taman Tugu
The Ipoh 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”).
Antiaris toxicaria is a deciduous to evergreen, small to large tree with a crown of short and spreading branches. It usually grows up to 45-60m. The bole can reach to 150cm in diameter and is usually buttressed. It is a known hazard as the latex obtained from the bark contains varying amounts of cardiac glycosides and can be very poisonous. Its leaves are variable, usually oval 5-16 x 4-11cm with the upper half often widest to a blunt or pointed tip and the base unequal and rounded. Its leaves are also rough, papery with stiff hairs above but softer below. Its male flowers are short-stalked, discoid head with each flower with 2-7 tepals and 2-4 stamens, growing just below leaves. Its female flowers appears in disc or kidney-shaped measured around 3cm across. Its fruits are around 1.5cm long, bright red, ellipsoid, dull and furry with a swollen receptacle which contains just one seed.
The wood produced from this tree is commonly used domestically for light construction and canoes, interior joinery, panelling, moulding, shuttering, and furniture. A latex obtained from the bark is often used in traditional medicine. In Africa, the latex is applied to cuts, wounds and to treat skin problems such as eczema and leprosy and is taken internally as a purgative. This tree has excellent prospects for use as a pioneer species and it is sometimes planted as a roadside tree as it casts a dense shade.
This tree is usually found in riverine and evergreen forest in Africa at elevation of 1000-1800m and rainforests below 1500m in southern China towards Malaysia.