Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Saraca thaipingensis Prain

Kingdom:Plantae
Phylum/Division:Magnoliophyta
Class:Eudicots
Order:Fabales
Family:Fabaceae
Genus:Saraca
Species:S. thaipingensis
Common Names:Yellow Saraca
Status:Exotic. Cultivated only.

Description

This medium sized, evergreen tree with a wide-spreading crown grows to a height of 7 m or more. Leaves are simple pinnate, large, with up to 8 pairs of opposite, 20-40 x 6-12 cm leaflets but without a terminal one. Young leaves are cream-coloured, hanging limply in tassels for a few days before they stiffen and turn green. Flowers 1-2 cm across, faintly fragrant, in dense bunches that arise from the trunk and main branches. They are light pinkish yellow turning deep yellow with a dark crimson eye spot which darkens to blood-red. Most of the flowers in a cluster are functionally male, the others bisexual. Pods are large, 30-45 x 6-10 cm, thin, flat and leathery. They turn purple with maturity, splitting into two coiled halves to expose the flat, black seeds.

Read more about the Fabales order.
Read more about the Fabaceae family.

Distribution

Native to Peninsular Malaysia, cultivated in a number of tropical countries.

Localities

MacRitchie Reservoir Park

Human Uses

This is an attractive flowering tree for parks and gardens. When in bloom, the tree attracts masses of nectar feeding sunbirds like Purple-throated (Nectariniua sperata), Crimson (Aethopyga siparaja), Olive-backed (Cinnyris jugularis) and Brown-throated (Anthreptes malacensis) as well as the Asian Brown Flycatcher (Muscicapa dauurica).

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.  Waysides trees of Malaya.  Vol. 1-2.  Malayan Nature Society, Kuala Lumpur.

Hou, D. 2000. Leguminosae-Caesalpinioideae. In: Soepadmo, E. & L. G. Saw (eds.), Tree flora of Sarawak and Sabah Vol. 3. Forest Research Institute Malaysia, Sabah Forestry Department & Sarawak Forestry Department. Pp. 19-180.

Wee, Y. C. 2003. Tropical trees and shrubs - A selection for urban plantings. Sun Tree Pub., Singapore. 392pp.

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