Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Streblus elongatus (Miq.) Corner

Kingdom:Plantae
Phylum/Division:Magnoliophyta
Class:Eudicots
Order:Rosales
Family:Moraceae
Genus:Streblus
Species:S. elongatus
Common Names:Tampines Tree
Status:Vulnerable

Description

It is a big, bushy evergreen tree that grows to about 12 m but can reach 30 m in the forest. The crown is rounded, made up of 12–30 cm leaves with unequal sides at the base. The stalked leaves alternate along long, slender and drooping branches. Leaves are thin, leathery, drooping and yellowish green. The bark is greyish brown and rough.

Its scientific name, Streblus elongatus, means crooked and elongated. This well-describes the 10–20 cm long hanging catkins, on which the flowers grow on. The catkins grow singly or in groups of 2–4 in the leaf-axils and consist numerous, tiny male flowers and a few large female flowers. The fruits are round and enclosed in the swollen fleshy 2-lobed base of the flower, which is wrapped around by the pale green sepals.

The plant produces white latex from all cut surfaces.

This tree is what gave the town Tampines its name because they were known to be abundant in that area in the past.

Read more about the Rosales order.
Read more about the Moraceae family.

Localities

Bukit Batok Nature Park, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Central Catchment Nature Reserve, Pulau Ubin, Southern Ridges, St John's Island

Life Cycle

When the fruit is squeezed (such as when a bird tries to eat it), it forcibly ejects the seed, which can travel some distance.

Ecological Role

Ripe fruits of Streblus elongatus are sweet and are eaten by squirrels, monkeys and birds. The Long-tailed Macaques are also known to feed on the leaves of this tree. However, research shows that short sharp siliceous trichomes on the underside of the leaf veins may cause dental microwear for the monkeys.

Human Uses

Streblus elongatus has a dark brown heart wood that is very durable and is used to make flooring and furniture. This makes the timber very valuable and thus caused the decline of many large trees.

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.

Corner, E.J.H., 1988. Wayside trees of Malaya. Third edition. Volumes 1-2. Malayan Nature Society, Kuala Lumpur. 861 pp.

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

Lucas, P.W. & M.F. Teaford, 1995. Singnificance of silica in leaves to Long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis). Folia Primatologica, 64:30-36.

Tan, H.T.W., 2011. Tempinis Streblus elongatus. Pp. 477-478. 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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