Scientific name: Suregada multiflora
Family name: Phyllanthaceae (Euphorbiaceae)
Merlimau trees in Taman Tugu
Merlimau tree is an indigenous rainforest tree 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 is one of the species being added which is considered as ‘Critically Endangered’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (“IUCN”) Red List of Threatened Species. This species is being threatened due to deforestation.
It is a small-sized tree or a large shrub which can grow up to 15m tall. The tree has a strong apical dominance, resulting in prominent conical crown, especially when young. The tree branches are spiral along the trunk. The leaves are alternate and stalked leaves have leathery leaf blades that are dark green which turns orange before dropping. The leaves are oval measuring about 5-16cm long and 3–8 cm wide. The tree produces small creamy-white flowers which are slightly fragrant. The fruits resemble small limes with capsule that are round shaped or slightly 3-lobed. The fruits are reddish-orange when ripe to reveal its seeds.
The fruits are used as medicine to treat HIV and breast cancer patients. The wood is used as rafters and firewood.
It grows in lowland forest, from sea-level up to 500m altitude. These trees can be found in Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore.