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Cratoxylum cochinchinense


Cratoxylum cochinchinense (Lour.) Blume

Family Name: Hypericaceae

Cratoxylum ligustrinum (Spach) Blume, Cratoxylum myrtifolium Blume, Cratoxylum polyanthum Korth., Hypericum cochinchinense Lour.

Common Name: Derum Selunchor, Yellow Cow Wood, Mampat, Baduk-baduk, Red Mempat, 黄牛木

Cratoxylum cochinchinense or Derum Selunchor is a deciduous shrub to tree growing between 5 - 30 m tall. It has papery to leather leaves with grey-green bloom on the underside and faintly fragrant flowers that are usually deep red coloured. The fruit is an elliptic-cylindrical capsule with sepals more than half of its length.


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names
Species Summary

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Shrub, Tree (Big (>30m), Medium (16m-30m), Small (6m-15m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Weeping / Pendulous
Maximum Height 30 m


Native Distribution Andaman Island, Borneo, Cambodia, China South-Central, China Southeast, Laos, Malaya, Myanmar, Nicobar Island, Philippines, Sumatra, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Secondary Rainforest, Primary Rainforest, Freshwater Swamp Forest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Endangered (EN))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a deciduous tree that can grow between 5 - 30 m tall.
Trunk It has a smooth light brown to yellowish brown bark which peels off in long angular stripes.
Foliage Leaves are fleshy to papery, elliptic to broadly lance or lance shaped measuring 3 – 12 cm long by 1 – 3.5 cm wide. The mature leaves are green above, and distinctly covered with a bloom on the grey-green undersides with minute gland-dots. When young, the leaves tend to be reddish. The lateral veins are well spaced, looping, faint to visible above and below.
Flowers Flowers are borne on an inflorescence of up to 15 cm long at the branch tips or angles of leaves. The flowers are usually deep red, but can also be pink or orange coloured, faintly fragrant, measuring 5 - 10 mm long by 2.5 - 5 mm wide.
Fruits The fruit is an elliptic-cylindrical capsule measuring 8–13 mm long by 4–5 mm wide with sepals more than half of its length. Seeds are winged on one side, drop-shaped, elliptic to oblong-shaped.
Habitat Occurs in primary or secondary forest, open woodland, grassland and river banks, up to 500 m in altitude.
Associated Fauna It is the preferred local food plant for caterpillars of the butterflies, the archduke (Lexias pardalis dirteana), and the common grass yellow (Eurema hecabe contubernalis). The adult of the archduke lays its eggs singly on the undersides of leaves of the host plant. Its flowers are also insect-pollinated.
Cultivation It can be propagated by seed.
Etymology Greek kratos, strength; Greek xulon, wood, referring to the strong timber; Latin cochinchinense, of or from Cochinchina (now known as southern Vietnam), referring to the natural distribution of this species
Ethnobotanical Uses Medicinal ( Parts of the plant has been used in folk remedies in the Southeast Asian communities such examples include a mix decoction of the bark and leaves is used to treat fever, the wood tar can blacken teeth and a decoction of its roots is given to women as a post-labour tonic.)
Timber & Products ( The durability of the wood is disputable, but it is used for cabinets, construction, furnitures, and inside fittings.)
Cultural / Religious ( Heritage Tree: There is 1 individual of Cratoxylum cochinchinense listed as Heritage Trees in Singapore. It can be found in Telok Blangah Green. To find out more about this tree, please visit the Heritage Tree Register.)

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is suitable for planting in parks and roadsides for its attractive bark, new foliage and flowers.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Foliage, Ornamental Trunk, Fragrant (Flowers)
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Fertile Loamy Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Moist Soils
Landscape Uses Roadside Tree / Palm, General, Shade Providing Tree / Palm, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens
Thematic Landscaping Water Garden, Naturalistic Garden
SGMP Treatment

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Caterpillar Food Plant (Leaves, Associated with: Eurema hecabe contubernalis (Moore, 1886), Lexias pardalis), Bee-Attracting
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna) (Insects (Bee))
Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic (Explosive Dehiscence)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun, Semi-Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Papery, Leathery
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Red
Young Flush Texture(s) Papery
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Elliptical, Lanceolate, Ovate)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Acuminate, Caudate
Foliar Base Cuneate, Attenuate
Typical Foliar Area Mesophyll ( 45cm2 - 182.25 cm2 )
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.0 (Tree - Intermediate Canopy)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Bark Colour(s) Reddish-brown
Mature Bark Texture Peeling / Flaking / Papery, Smooth
Stem Type & Modification Woody
Root Type Underground (Tap Root, Fibrous Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower & Plant Sexuality 2 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Red, Orange, Pink
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary, Terminal
Flower Symmetry Radial
Individual Flower Shape Bowl-shaped
Inflorescence Type Cyme
Ovary Position Superior / Hypogynous
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Brown, Green
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Dehiscent Dry Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Capsule


References Neo, L., Chong, K.Y., Tan, S.Y., Koh, C.Y., Lim, R.C.J., Loh, J.W., Ng, W.Q., Seah, W.W., Yee, A.T.K., Tan, H.T.W. (2016). Towards a field guide to the trees of the Nee Soon Swamp Forest (II): Cratoxylum (Hypericaceae). Nature in Singapore, 9: 29-39.

Robson, N.K.B (1974). Hyperiaceae. Flora Malesiana, ser. I, 8(1), pp.1-29. Leiden: Naturalis Biodiversity Center. 

Image Repository



Master ID 1536
Species ID 2829
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 23 November 2022.