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Garcinia subelliptica


Garcinia subelliptica Merr.

Family Name: Clusiaceae (Guttiferae)
Common Name: Happiness Tree, Philippine Fortune Tree, Fukugi, 菲岛福木

Garcinia subelliptica, also known as Happiness Tree, is a tree with a compact conical crown and ornamental glossy leaves. The flowers are small, greenish cream coloured and develop into yellow fleshy fruit after pollination. In Okinawa, it is planted as both a windbreak as well as firebreak.


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 Tree (Small (6m-15m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Compact, Conical
Maximum Height 15 m


Native Distribution Philippines, Taiwan, Japan
Native Habitat Shoreline
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Non-native

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a tree up to 15 m tall with strongly angled branches. It produces yellowish latex when injured. The crown is compact and conical.
Foliage Leaves are green, glossy, leathery and in opposite arrangement. Each leaf is elliptic to suborbicular shaped (8 to 12 cm long and 5 – 10 cm wide) and the leaf margin is rolled inwards (involute). The leaf base is broadly wedge-shaped (cuneate) or rounded while the leaf tip is rounded to notched (emarginate). Each leaf has about 10 pairs of lateral veins. The leaf stalk (petiole) is robust and short, about 0.5 cm long. Young leaves are reddish bronze at first, turning yellow-green before turning dark green as they mature.
Flowers Flowers are unisexual and occur as clusters on the axils. Both male and female flowers occur on the same plant (monoecious). Sometimes, the male flowers may be arranged in a pseudospike (about 1 cm long). The flowers are small, greenish cream coloured, each with 5 petals
Fruit Fruit is fleshy, round (about 4.5 cm diameter) with a flattened top. It is smooth and yellow when mature, and becomes wrinkled when dried. Each fruit contain about 1 – 3 (or 4) seeds within.
Habitat It is found in coastal forest.
Associated Fauna Flowers are pollinated by insects.
Cultivation It can be propagated by seed.
Etymology Latin Garcinia, commemorating Laurent Garcin (1683 - 1751), a Franco-Swiss botanist who was one of the pioneers of the botanical exploration of Asia and made significant contribution to Nicolaas Burman’s Flora Indica. Latin subelliptica means more or less elliptic, possibly with reference to the shape of the leaf.
Ethnobotanical Uses Others: In Okinawa, it is planted as both a windbreak as well as firebreak

Landscaping Features

Landscaping This tree is often planted for its attractive conical form and decorative foliage.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage
Landscape Uses Roadside Tree / Palm, Coastal

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

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

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade, Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Well-Drained Soils, Poor Infertile Soils, Saline Soils / Salt Spray


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth, Glossy / Shiny
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Red
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Elliptical, Orbicular / Round)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Rounded, Emarginate
Foliar Base Rounded / Obtuse, Cuneate
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.0 (Tree - Dense Canopy)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Trunk Type (Non Palm) Woody
Root Type Underground

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Unisexual Flowers , Monoecious
Flower Colour(s) Cream / Off-White, Green - Light Green
Flower Texture(s) Leathery
Flower Location Axillary
Flower Symmetry Radial
Flowering Period A Few Times Yearly
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Orange, Yellow / Golden
Mature Fruit Texture(s) Smooth
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type
Seed Quantity Per Fruit Few (1-5)



Chen, B. & Nakama, Y. (2011). Distribution of Fukugi (Garcinia subelliptica) trees as Landscaping trees in Traditional Villages in Ryukyu Islands in Japan. Pacific Agriculture and Natural Resources, Vol. 3: 14 – 22. 

Cook, A. (2016). Laurent Garcin, M.D. F.R.S.: A forgotten source for N. L. Burman’s Flora Indica (1768). Harvard Papers in Botany, Vol. 21 (1): 31–53.

Merrill, E.D. (1908). The Philippine Species of Garcinia. In: Freer, P.C. (ed.) The Philippine Journal of Science. Vol. 3, pp. 359 - 368. Manila: The Bureau of Science of the Government of the Philippine Islands. 

Wu, Z., Raven, P.H. & Hong, D. (eds.) (2007). Flora of China 13: 1-548. Science Press (Beijing) & Missouri Botanical Garden Press (St. Louis).

Image Repository



Master ID 1637
Species ID 2930
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: 20 April 2022.