Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Tembusu - Fragraea fragrans

In my numerous walks in the parks of Singapore, I have been pleasantly surprised many times by the flowers of the Tembusu trees. The first time I saw these attractive blooms was in the Botanic Gardens. Subsequently, I saw and photographed these lovely flowers in Sembawang Park, East Coast Park and Kent Ridge Park next to the boardwalk. Over time I saw them in various stages of blooming and even saw the berries that turn red when they ripen. As suggested by the name, these flowers give off a sweet fragrance that is almost addictive.
Botanical name: Fragraea fragrans
Family : Loganiaceae
Origin: SingaporePeninsula Malaysia, Burma, Indonesia and the Pacific islands
The most famous Tembusu tree is in the Botanic Gardens and is designated as a Heritage tree. When I was young, I sat on its 'arm' to have my photo taken. The tree has since reached a majestic height and that particular branch continutes to provide a seat for the young and the starry-eyed while their precious moments are captured with the camera. But if you look closely at the photo, the branch is being supported by two pieces of wood. According to the information given in the National Parks Board Website, this tree has been around at the time that the Botanic Gardens were first laid out in 1859. I also found out that a picture of this tree is on the back of our five-dollar note - the one that has the late President Yusof bin Ishak on the front.

Other details about the tree are captured here from an information palette along the boardwalk at Kent Ridge Park:

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