Scientific name: Flacourtia inermis
Family name: Flacourtiaceae
Rukam Masam trees in Taman Tugu
The Rukam Masam 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”).
The Rukam Masam is a small to medium-sized shrub or tree that grows to a height of 15m. The bark is smooth and has a mixture of light brown and light grey patches. The hard wood is either orange red or red. The leaves are oval-shaped with serrate leaf margin. They have a spiral arrangement and tend to hang down from the branches. The young leaves are orange-red turning green when mature. The flowers are produced in clusters of 2-8 small, unscented flowers, located near the base of leaves and along the length of twigs, but not at the ends. The flowers have greenish yellow sepals, but no petals. The fruits occur in 2-7 and each twig may hold more than 20 fruits. The round, shiny, cherry-like fruits are initially green, becoming red to reddish purple at maturity. Each fruit contains 4 – 14 small, stony seeds that have very sharp edges.
The fruits of the Rukam Masam fruits are edible but generally not eaten fresh but made as jams, preserves.
In traditional medicine, roots of the Rukam Masam tree are used to prepare a poultice that is applied to wounds, sores, and used to treat sore throats. The leaves and root infusions are used to treat stomach distension. The Rukam Masam tree is also used in landscaping, it is suitable for planting along streetscapes, parks, and gardens for its attractive young red leaves and fruits.
These tropical trees grow mainly in primary and secondary forests. These trees are native to Malaysia and Eastern Indonesia.