Scientific name: Pteleocarpa lamponga
Family name: Boraginaceae
Tembusu Tikus trees in Taman Tugu
The Tembusu Tikus 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 Tembusu tikus tree is a medium-sized tree with a bushy, irregular, open crown; it can grow up to 37m in height. It has a straight and cylindrical bole with smooth to shallowly fissured bark. The leaves are spirally arranged and wither yellow before being shed. The base of the leaf blade gradually tapers into the leaf stalk.The flowers are an attractive bright yellow with many arranged in umbel form. The fruits are pale green or yellowish in colour, flat and winged, or samaras. Its one-seeded fruits are winged, flat, and pink to light red when ripe. The wings are broadly oval to circular and distinctly notched to deeply bifid (split into two) tips.
The rather durable timber is harvested commercially for making roof supports. The trees are also planted as ornamentals and to provide shade. It is suitable for parks, streetscape planting and gardens for its attractive bright yellow bunches of flowers, pink fruits, and bushy crown. The edible seeds are gathered from the wild for local use such as flavouring.
These tropical, sub-tropical/ monsoonal trees grow in lowland and hill dipterocarp forest, to 600m altitude, on forest margins, near streams or swampy habitats and on hillsides. These trees are native to Peninsular Malaysia, Borneo, Singapore, Sumatra, and Southern Thailand. The species epithet ‘lamponga’ is Latin for Lampong, Sumatra, referring to one locality where the species is naturally distributed.