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Horsfieldia sparsa


Horsfieldia sparsa Wilde

Family Name: Myristicaceae
Synonyms: Horsfieldia sucosa auct. non (King) Warb.
Common Name: Penarahan Gajah, Samak Pulut


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

Classifications and Characteristics

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


Native Distribution Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, and Borneo
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Secondary Rainforest, Freshwater Swamp Forest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Endangered (EN))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a tree that can grow up to 30 m tall.
Foliage Its spirally arranged, stalked leaves possess membranous to thinly papery leaf blades that are oval-oblong to lance-shaped, hairless above, and 13–28 by 3.8–8.5 cm, with scattered tiny black dots below.
Flowers The species is dioecious with individual trees producing either male or female flowers. Its flowering shoots (inflorescences) develop behind the leaves on twigs, and are covered with hairs 0.1–0.2 mm long. Its male inflorescence is 7–19 by 5–16 cm, and flowers are in clusters of 3–7. Its female inflorescence is 1–4 cm long. Male or female flowers are yellow, tiny and the male flowers are smaller than the female flowers.
Fruits Its fruiting clusters (infructescences) contain 1–4 fruits each. Its succulent fruits are broadly egg-shaped, hairless, pinkish-red, shiny, 2–7.6 by 2–5 cm.
Habitat It grows in lowland and hill forests, forests over limestone, swamp forests, and on plains, up to 800 m altitude. It occurs locally in Central Catchment Nature Reserve (Nee Soon Swamp Forest), and Singapore Botanic Gardens (Headquarters).
Associated Fauna Its flowers are insect-pollinated. Its fruits are eaten by hornbills.
Cultivation It can be propagated by seed.
Etymology The genus 'Horsfieldia' is named after Dr. Thomas Horsfield (1773–1859), an American botanist who explored the Malesian islands.
Ethnobotanical Uses Timber & Products ( Its wood is used to make house-posts and beams. )
[Others]: Its bark is used in tanning.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is suitable for parks and streetscapes.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Fruits
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Moist Soils, Waterlogged Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils
Landscape Uses General, Roadside Tree / Palm, Parks & Gardens

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Bird Attracting
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)
Seed or Spore Dispersal Biotic (Fauna)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Propagation Method Seed


Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.0 (Tree - Intermediate Canopy)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Branch Angle (wrt vertical) Horizontal
Trunk Type (Non Palm) Woody

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Unisexual Flowers
Flower & Plant Sexuality 2 Dioecious
Flower Colour(s) Yellow / Golden
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary
Flower Symmetry Radial

Fruit, Seed and Spore

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

Image Repository



Master ID 1672
Species ID 2965
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: 31 October 2022.