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Pometia pinnata J. R. Forst. & G. Forst.

Family Name: Sapindaceae
Synonyms: Euphoria pinnata, Pometia macrocarpa, Pometia pinnata f. tomentosa, Pometia gracilis, Nephelium pinnata, Pometia tomentosa, Pometia acuminata, Irina tomentosa, Euphoria pometia
Common Name: Island Lychee, Lansir, Pacific Lychee, Fijian Longan, Kasai Daun Besar, Kasai Langsir, Kelisar, Obahu, Kawa, Tawa, 番龙眼
Full Sun: 6-8h Lots of Water Moderate Water Native to Singapore Fruit & Vegetable Herb & Spice Roadside Tree / Palm Ornamental Foliage 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 (Big (>30m), Medium (16m-30m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Broad / Mushroom / Hemispherical
Maximum Height 20 m to 50 m
Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width 20 m to 30 m


Native Distribution From south China and Sri Lanka, through Southeast Asia to the Pacific Islands
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Secondary Rainforest, Monsoon Forest, Freshwater Swamp Forest, Riverine)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Endangered (EN))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a tree up to 50 m tall, with spreading buttresses up to 5 m tall.
Foliage It has alternate, stalked, compound leaves that are more than 1 m long. Each leaf consists of 4–15 pairs of leaflets, and lacks a terminal leaflet. The papery to leathery leaflets are egg-shaped to drop-shaped, slightly to distinctly sickle-shaped, red when young, dark green above and lighter green below when mature, hairless to covered with hair, 6–40 by 2–13 cm, and with toothed margins. The lowest pair of leaflets is smaller than others, round, ear-shaped or cushion-shaped, 0.4–3 by 0.3–5 cm, appearing like a stipule, and with one of the leaflets reduced.
Flowers The plant is monoecious, producing both male and female flowers in the same individual. The flowers are about 2–2.5 mm across, generally white to green-yellow, and occur on branched flowering stalks that are 15–70 cm long.
Fruits Its fleshy fruits have a stony core each. Its fruit is ellipsoid to round, 1.5–5 by 1–3 cm, and red turning black when ripe. The seed is egg-shaped, unequal sided, up to 2.5 by 1.5 cm, brown, and with a white covering (aril).
Habitat It can be found in primary and secondary forests, up to 1700 m altitude, and is common on riverbanks. It occurs locally in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Central Catchment Nature Reserve (including Mandai and Nee Soon Swamp forests), Changi, and Pulau Tekong Kechil.
Associated Fauna Its flowers are insect-pollinated. Its fruits and seeds are probably eaten and dispersed by small mammals, bats and birds. The lowest pairs of leaflets, that are stipule-like, are usually inhabited by ants.
Cultivation It can be propagated by seed.
Etymology Pometia, commemorating P. Pomet, a French writer; Latin pinnata, referring to the pinnate leaves of this species
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Fruits)
Food (Fruit & Vegetable : Fruits eaten fresh, with juicy sweet pulp that resembles Litchi chinensis (Lychee). Seeds roasted or boiled. Leaves used for chewing with lime. ;Herb and Spice)
Medicinal ( Plant reported to have antiseptic properties (probably due to presence of saponins). Bark used by Malays and Indonesians to treat sores and wound infections. Leaves and bark used to make bathwater for fever.)
Timber & Products ( General-purpose wood used for construction, furniture, flooring and various items. Wood also burnt as firewood and charcoal.)

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is suitable for streetscapes, parks and gardens for its attractive new foliage and bushy crown.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils
Landscape Uses Roadside Tree / Palm, General, Parks & Gardens, Riverine
Thematic Landscaping Naturalistic Garden

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna) (Insects (Bee))
Seed or Spore Dispersal Biotic (Fauna) (, Vertebrates (Bat))

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Lots of Water, Moderate Water
Transplanting Tolerance Unknown / Unselect
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Propagation Method Seed


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Leathery, Raised / Sunken Veins, Thick, Papery
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Red, Orange
Foliar Type Compound (Odd-Pinnate)
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Ovate, Obovate)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Serrate / Toothed
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.0 (Tree - Intermediate Canopy)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Trunk Type (Non Palm) Woody
Bark Colour(s) Reddish Brown
Stem Type & Modification Woody
Root Type Underground (Tap Root, Fibrous Root), Aboveground (Buttress Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Unisexual Flowers
Flower & Plant Sexuality 2 Monoecious
Flower Colour(s) Cream / Off-White, Green, Yellow / Golden
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary
Inflorescence Type Panicle

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Red
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Fleshy Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Drupe

Image Repository



Master ID 1791
Species ID 3084
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: 22 December 2020.