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Dillenia indica L.

Family Name: Dilleniaceae
Synonyms: Dillenia speciosa, Dillenia yunnanensis
Common Name: Elephant Apple, Simpoh Air, Simpoh Kuning, Simpuh, Chalta, Indian Simpoh, Chimpoh, Simpoh, Simpor, Peradun, Tipor, 五桠果
Full Sun Lots of Water Moderate Water Native to Singapore Fruit or Vegetable Suitable for Roadsides Fragrant Plant Ornamental Flowers Tree


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

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Tree (Medium (16m-30m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Broad / Mushroom / Hemispherical, Irregular
Maximum Height 30 m


Native Distribution India, China, Indochina, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, Java and Borneo.
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Freshwater Swamp Forest, Riverine)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Presumed Nationally Extinct (NE))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a more or less deciduous tree, up to 30 m tall and 1.2 m in diameter.
Trunk Its peeling and flaky bark is reddish brown in colour.
Foliage Its alternate, stalked leaves have toothed leaf blades that are 10-35 by 5-13 cm, with many parallel secondary veins.
Flowers Its flowers are 15-20 cm wide, with yellowish-green sepals, and white petals, opening at night and fading by noon.
Fruits Its fruit is a round aggregate fruit, with persistent fleshy sepals, 10-15 cm in diameter.
Habitat It grows along forest streams and rivers up to 500 m altitude.
Associated Fauna Its seeds are said to be dispersed by elephants. The large flowers are probably pollinated by bats, although bees are observed to visit the flowers in the early morning when they are about to fade.
Cultivation It can be propagated by seed.
Etymology Latin Dillenia, commemorating Johann Jacob Dillenius (1687–1747), Professor of Botany at Oxford, author of Historia Muscorum and Hortus Elthamensis; Latin indica, from India, referring to one of the natural geographical distributions of this species.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Fruits)
Food (Fruit & Vegetable : The fleshy sepals surrounding the fruit is edible and tastes like unripe apple. It is usually eaten with curries or made into jams.)
Timber & Products ( The timber was used for building houses, ships, and telegraph poles.)
[Others]: The fruit pulp is used as a hair wash.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is suitable for gardens, parks, streetscapes (not too near the road, as the fruits are big, round and heavy), and riverine parks.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Fragrant (Flowers) (Night, Dawn / Dusk)
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Moist Soils, Waterlogged Soils (Drains Site), Well-Drained Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils, Heavy Clay Soils
Landscape Uses General, Roadside Tree / Palm, Parks & Gardens, Riverine, Shade Providing Tree / Palm
Usage Hazard - Cons Large Heavy Fruits

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Caterpillar Moth Food Plant, Bat Food
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)
Seed or Spore Dispersal Biotic (Fauna)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water, Lots of Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Propagation Method Seed


Foliage Retention Evergreen, Drought / Semi-Deciduous
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Leathery
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Obovate, Oblong)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Serrate / Toothed
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.0 (Tree - Intermediate Canopy)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) White
Flower Grouping Solitary
Flower Location Axillary
Flower Symmetry Radial
Flowering Opening Time Night (dusk to dawn)

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Green - Light Green
Fruit Classification Aggregate Fruit (Syncarp)
Fruit Type 1 Fleshy Fruit

Image Repository



Master ID 1549
Species ID 2842
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: 14 October 2021.