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Dyera costulata

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Dyera costulata (Miq.) Hook.f.

Family Name: Apocynaceae
Synonyms: Alstonia costulata Miq.
Common Name: Jelutong, Jelutung, 日落洞

Dyera costulata or Jelutong is a native tree of Singapore that grows up to 80 m tall. It has whorled leaves, flowers are 5 petalled, white, yellowish-green or pinkish-yellow in colour. The fruit is a paired, woody follicle up to 40 cm long, splits upon maturity releasing flattened elliptic seeds with a membranous wing.

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Species Summary

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Tree (Big (>30m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Plant Shape Tiered, Irregular
Maximum Height 80 m

Biogeography

Native Distribution Southern Thailand, Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, and Borneo
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Secondary Rainforest, Freshwater Swamp Forest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Vulnerable (VU))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a large emergent tree with dark grey, brown to black bark that grows to 80 m tall, with somewhat exposed roots.
Crown Distinctly tiered when young, but turns irregular when mature.
Foliage Leaves are in whorls of 4 - 8, stipules found at the tip of the branches, 3 - 6 mm long. The leaves are leathery to papery, spoon-shaped, oblong to elliptic, with round-toothed margins, measuring 5.5 - 42 cm long by 1.8 - 14 cm wide.
Flowers Flowers are arranged in whorls along the flowering shoot between 4 - 18 cm long. The flowers are 5-petalled, tubular, white, yellowish-green or pinkish-yellow. They bloom at night between 5 - 7 pm and fall off by the next morning.
Fruit The fruit is a long, heavy, woody follicle 18 - 40 cm long that comes in a pair. It splits upon maturity releasing flattened elliptic seeds, each with a broad membranous wing.
Habitat Occurs in lowland dipterocarp forest.
Associated Fauna Its flowers are insect-pollinated.
Cultivation It can be propagated by seed.
Etymology The genus, Dyera was named after Sir William T. Thiselton-Dyer - a English botanist and former director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The species epithet refers to costulatus, finely ribbed possibly in reference to the ribbed twigs.
Ethnobotanical Uses Timber & Products: The tree was formerly tapped for rubber and chewing gum. Presently, the wood is still valued for its commercial light hardwood timber called Jelutong.
Cultural / Religious: Heritage Tree: There is currently 1 individual of Dyera costulata listed as Heritage Trees in Singapore. The tree can be found in Singapore Botanic Gardens. To find out more about this tree, please visit the Heritage Tree Register.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is suitable for parks and streetscapes for its attractive form.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Form
Landscape Uses Roadside Tree / Palm, Parks & Gardens, Shade Providing Tree / Palm

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)
Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun, Semi-Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Propagation Method Seed

Foliar

Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Papery, Leathery
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Red
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Whorled
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Elliptical, Oblong, Obovate)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Crenulate
Foliar Apex - Tip Acuminate, Rounded
Foliar Base Cordate, Rounded / Obtuse
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.0 (Tree - Intermediate Canopy)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Stem Type & Modification Woody
Root Type Underground (Tap Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Bisexual Flowers , Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Cream / Off-White, White, Pink, Yellow / Golden
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary
Flower Symmetry Radial
Individual Flower Shape Tubular
Inflorescence Type Cyme
Flowering Opening Time Night (dusk to dawn)
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Brown
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type Dehiscent Dry Fruit , Follicle

References

References Middleton, D.J. & Rodda, M. (2019). Dyera. In: Apocynaceae. Flora of Singapore, vol. 13. Singapore: Singapore Botanic Gardens, National Parks Board.

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Master ID 1573
Species ID 2866
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: 16 December 2022.
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