Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Syzygium grande (Wight) Walp.

Kingdom:Plantae
Phylum/Division:Magnoliophyta
Class:Eudicots
Order:Myrtales
Family:Myrtaceae
Genus:Syzygium
Species:S. grande
Common Names:Sea Apple Tree
Status:Common

Description

A big tree that can reach 30 m in height. They tend to grow taller in the coastal forest than in the open. It has a dense, oblong and irregular crown, with wide-spread branches. The leaves are simple, large and broadly elliptical with a distinct down-turned tip. Leaves are also shiny and leathery, with 9-13 well-spaced pairs of veins. The trunk is fluted at the base but not buttressed; it is greyish and rough, and becomes shallowly fissured and flaky with age.

Flowers are white and grow in compact clusters at the end of twigs or in leaf-axils. They have a strong fregrance. Fruits are oblong and green when ripe, and have leathery flesh.

It is a coastal tree in this region and can be commonly found on sandy and rocky shores. It is however widely planted as a wayside tree in Singapore.

Read more about the Myrtales order.
Read more about the Myrtaceae family.

Localities

Found throughout Singapore and its offshore islands.

Life Cycle

The Sea Apple tree grows rather quickly. Majority of the trees flower and fruit in March to May in Singapore but there are some with their own flowering cycles. The fruits are eaten by bats which helps with their dispersal and the seeds germinate readily.

Ecological Role

As the seeds germinate readily and seedlings are common, the Sea Apple tree helps with natural regeneration.

Human Uses

The thick bark of this tree is fire-resistant and was thus widely planted as a wayside tree to act as a fire break. The trunk is also used for the commercial timber, 'Kelat', a medium hard wood.

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.

Rao, A. N. & Y. C. Wee, 1989. Singapore trees. Singapore Institute of Biology, Singapore. 357 pp.

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