Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research

Scaphium macropodum (Miq.) Beumée ex K. Heyne

Kingdom:Plantae
Phylum/Division:Magnoliophyta
Class:Eudicots
Order:Malvales
Family:Malvaceae
Genus:Scaphium
Species:S. macropodum
Common Names:Malva Nut, Kembang Semangkok.
Status:Endangered

Description

This is a large tree up to 45 m in height, possessing ovate or suborbicular leaves with rounded leaf base. The simple, alternate leaves also have long petioles. Young saplings have leaves that are palmately-lobed. Its small, white-yellow flowers are arranged in panicles. The fruits are large, glabrous, papery follicle that dehisces to form a boat-shaped structure, with one glabrous seed on one end.

Read more about the Malvales order.
Read more about the Malvaceae family.

Distribution

Sumatra, Borneo, Singapore, Peninsular Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia.

Human Uses

A gelatinous layer will form around the seed once it is soaked in water. This layer is used in preparing a popular Singaporean dessert called 'cheng tng'.

The wood is harvested for making furniture. The seeds are believed to have medicinal properties and are used to treat diarrhea and dysentery.

Other Resources

Flora Singapura. Scaphium macropodum. (Accessed 16 Aug 2011).

Plants of Southeast Asia. Scaphium macropodum. (Accessed 16 Aug 2011).

References

Chong, K. Y., H. T. W. Tan & R. T. Corlett, 2009. A Checklist of the Total Vascular Plant Flora of Singapore: Native, Naturalised and Cultivated Species. Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore, Singapore. 273 pp.

Keng, H., 1990. The Concise Flora of Singapore: Gymnosperms and Dicotyledons. Singapore University Press, Singapore. 222 pp.

Ooi, G. L., B. C. Tan, Y. C. Wee & N. A. Karim, 2011. Culture and Tradition. Pp. 162–171. In: Ng, P. K. L., R. T. Corlett & H. T. W. Tan (editors), Singapore Biodiversity. An Encyclopedia of the Natural Environment and Sustainable Development, Editions Didier Millet, Singapore, 552 pp

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