Scientific name: Diospyros montana
Family name: Ebenaceae
Kayu Arang trees in Taman Tugu
The Kayu Arang tree is an indigenous rainforest tree which is amongst the 4,100 trees added to the Taman Tugu site. This tree was selected in collaboration with Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (“FRIM”) and Malaysian Nature Society (“MNS”).
It is a slow-growing deciduous tree that can reach up to 30m tall, but in the usual urban landscapes, it tends to stay below 10m in height. The crown is elegantly weeping and pendulous, and the pale brown to reddish brown bark is smooth to flaky in texture. Its opposite leaves are oval to lance-shaped, measuring 3 to 13 cm long by 1 to 4.4 cm wide. Newly emerged leaves are deep purple, and turn pinkish brown then green as they mature.
The faintly fragrant flowers are crimson to pink, sometimes pinkish yellow, and measure 1.3 to 2.5cm across. The small fruits are dry capsules, up to 1.3cm in length, and split open to release many small seeds when mature.
The timber of the Kayu Arang is known commercially as derum, although it is not commonly available. The durable, hard wood is used in construction, and for making furniture, woodcuts and tool handles.
These trees are native from southern China through western and central Malaysia, including Singapore.