Singapore Government Logo

A Singapore Government Agency Website


Nephelium ramboutan-ake (Labill.) Leenh.

Family Name: Sapindaceae
Synonyms: Nephelium mutabile, Nephelium chryseum
Common Name: Pulasan, Kapoelasan, Rambutan paroh, Rambutan-kafri, Pening-pening ramboutan, Bulala, 黑毛丹, 野红毛丹
Full Sun: 6-8h Moderate Water Fruit & Vegetable Herb & Spice Roadside Tree / Palm 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
Maximum Height 24 m


Native Distribution West Malaysia
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Originating from Malaysia, the pulasan is a bushy ornamental tree with spreading branches that grows up to 24 m in height. Popular for its fruit in South-east Asia, it is however not as available as its cousin, the rambutan, except in the Philippines.
Foliage The alternate leaves are pinnately compound, each with 2-5 pairs of leaflets, which are a glossy dark green on top with short silky hairs on the underside. Leaflet margins are slightly wavy.
Flowers Flowers are greenish, each having 4-5 hairy sepals but no petals. These are found as inflorescences, borne on terminal or axillary panicles.
Fruits Fruits are broadly ovoid, about 4-5 cm long, crimson to dark purple in colour with short blunt spines. The rambutan, on the other hand, has longer thinner spines, although the two are sometimes confused. The flesh of the pulasan fruit is white to yellowish in colour, and adheres to the greyish-brown seedcoat, which separates from the seed when the flesh is peeled off the seed. Seeds are brown and somewhat flattened on one side.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Fruits)
Food (Herb and Spice;Fruit & Vegetable : The succulent flesh of the ripe fruits is sweeter than that of the rambutan and is eaten raw or made into jam. Seeds may be boiled or roasted to prepare a cocoa-like beverage or even eaten by itself, having been described as tasting like almond.)
Medicinal ( The leaves and roots have been known to be used in poultices, as a vermifuge and to reduce fevers. The Malay use a decoction of the roots to remove intestinal worms and either the roots or the leaves to treat fever.)
Timber & Products ( The tree yields a light-red wood that is hard and excellent in quality but rarely available.)
[Others]: Dried seed kernels are a source of faintly-perfumed oil, which could be used in soap-making.

Landscaping Features

Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Well-Drained Soils
Landscape Uses Roadside Tree / Palm
Usage Hazard - Cons Remarks Bark and leaves have been found to contain hydrocyanic acid.
Plant & Rootzone Preference or Tolerance Remarks N. ramboutan-ake usually grows in sand or clay.

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Planting Distance From 8
Planting Distance To 10
Propagation Method Seed, Grafting, Air-Layering


Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Glossy / Shiny, Hairy / Hirsute
Foliar Type Compound (Even-Pinnate, Odd-Pinnate)
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Lanceolate, Elliptical, Oblong)
Foliar Margin Entire - Wavy / Undulate
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.0 (Tree - Intermediate Canopy)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Root Type Aboveground (Buttress Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Unisexual Flowers
Flower & Plant Sexuality 2 Dioecious
Flower Colour(s) Green
Inflorescence Type Panicle

Fruit, Seed & Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Red
Fruit Type 1 Fleshy Fruit
Seed Quantity Per Fruit Few (1-5)

Image Repository



Master ID 1750
Species ID 3043
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 2020.