Scientific name: Baccaurea racemosa
Family name: Phyllanthaceae
Menteng trees in Taman Tugu
The Menteng 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 Menteng fruits are often consumed by wildlife.
This dense, irregular crowned tree is a variable plant ranging from a shrub of ~3m to a medium-sized tree which can grow up to 25m. The bark is whitish to grey to pale brown to fawn when fresh, and greyish to brown when dry. The leaves are ovate oblong to obovate in shape. The cluster of flowers grow on old branches or on the trunk. The male racemes grow in compound of numerous 3-flowered, densely haired cymes with very small flowers whilst the female racemes grow in solitary or in fascicles with larger flowers. The fruits which are produced in clusters are yellowish-green or reddish in colour.
Malaysians consume the fruit stewed, pickled or fermented, however, the fruit must be eaten sparingly or vomiting may occur. In Indonesia, the Menteng tree is often cultivated for its edible fruit and is also grown as an ornamental shade tree.
The leaves and bark are used to make dyes, and the bark can also be used to relieve eye inflammation. The Menteng timber is excellent as furniture and for house and boat construction. This tree also produces a special fibre used in the making of paper.
This understorey tree of tropical lowland forests can grow at elevations up to 1,000m on a wide range of soils, from dry sandstone to peat swamps. The Menteng tree is native to Southeast Asia, mainly Malaysia and Indonesia.