Scientific name: Dillenia philippinensis
Family name: Dilleniaceae
Philippines Simpoh trees in Taman Tugu
The Philippines Simpoh 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 tropical looking beauty is a favourite tree among Filipino garden enthusiasts as it is endemic to the Philippines. Its fruit is also known as elephant apple.
The Philippines Simpoh is a small evergreen autotrophic tree that only grows between 6m-15m in height.
The bark of the tree is shallowly fissured and greyish-brown to reddish-brown it has green elliptic to oblong-ovate leaves, in simple and alternate arrangement with serrate margins and prominent venation, measuring about 8 – 25cm long and 6 – 16cm wide, petiole about 3.5 – 5cm long with broad, caducous stipules about 1cm wide.
Its flowers are white and are about 10 – 15cm wide, and may be found solitary or paired. Each of the 5 white petals are obovate in shape and about 4 – 6cm long, accompanied with 5 pale green sepals cup-shaped, stamens in 2 groups. The outer stamens are yellow and about 11mm long, while inner stamens are purple and about 15 – 23mm long.
The Pihilippines Simpoh fruit is globose in shape and about 5 – 6cm wide, consist of black seeds embedded in a soft pulp inside.
The Philippines Simpoh fruits, young shoots, and flowers are used as a flavouring in dishes. Medicinally, the juice from the fruit is used in the treatment of cough and chest pain.
These trees can be found in primary and secondary forests and along river banks of Southeast Asian forests including Malaysia and Philippines.