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Dillenia suffruticosa


Dillenia suffruticosa (Griff. ex Hook.f. & Thomson) Martelli

Family Name: Dilleniaceae
Common Name: Simpoh Air, Simpuh Air, Shrubby Simpoh, Simpoh Ayer, White Simpoh, Yellow Simpoh


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Shrub
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Irregular
Maximum Height 2 m to 10 m


Native Distribution Southeast Asia
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Least Concern (LC))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form A large shrub, growing up to 7 m tall, often forming thickets.
Foliage Its alternate, stalked leaves have leaf blades that are 12.5-38 by 6.5-25.5 cm, with prominent, parallel secondary veins.
Flowers Its large flowers are 8-13 cm wide, with 5 bright yellow petals that are 4-5 by 2.5-3 cm each. Flowers last for a day.
Fruit Its fruit splits open into a star when it ripens to reveal up to four seeds that are covered by a fleshy red aril.
Others - Plant Morphology The Simpoh Ayer has very deep taproots to reach underground water sources. Therefore their presence sometimes suggests an available underground water source. The timber is not very useful as it is hard to work with and twisted. It provides food and shelter for other plants and creatures and is among the few plants that can germinate and grow on white sands. As a pioneer species, it provides shade for other less hardy plants to establish themselves.
Habitat It grows along forest edges, streams, and in marshes, secondary forests, and swampy grounds, up to 500 m altitude. In Singapore, it is one of the key species found in adinandra belukar (secondary forest on degraded soil) and other secondary forests.
Associated Fauna It provides food and shelter for other plants and creatures, such as the Yellow-vented bulbul and is among the few plants that can germinate and grow on white sands. As a pioneer species, it provides shade for other less hardy plants to establish themselves. Its flowers are pollinated by the carpenter bee (Xylocopa sp.).
Cultivation It can be grown from seed or stem cutting.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts : Edible Leaves
Food (Fruit & Vegetable): Its young shoots and leaves are edible.
Others: The large leaves are also used to wrap food such as tempeh, or formed into shallow cones to contain traditional ‘fast food’ such as rojak.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is suitable for planting along streetscapes, parks and gardens for its large showy flowers, and fruits that attract birds.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Foliage
Landscape Uses General, Roadside Tree / Palm, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Hedge / Screening, Riverine, Marsh / Bog, Reforestation

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Bird Attracting (Hiding / Nesting Place, Fruits), Bee-Attracting
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)
Seed or Spore Dispersal Biotic (Fauna)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Lots of Water, Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Moist Soils, Waterlogged Soils (Drains Site), Easy to Grow
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting


Foliage Retention Evergreen
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
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 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Yellow / Golden
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) White, Red, Pink
Fruit Classification Aggregate Fruit (Syncarp)

Image Repository



Master ID 1554
Species ID 2847
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: 10 August 2022.