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Saraca thaipingensis


Saraca thaipingensis Cantley ex Prain

Family Name: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Synonyms: Saraca cauliflora, Saraca declinata, Jonesia declinata
Common Name: Yellow Saraca, Talan, Bunga Asoka, Gapis Golak, Yellow Asoka, Gapis, Gapis Batan, Gapis Batang, 黄花无忧树


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 (Small (6m-15m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Umbrella
Maximum Height 7 m to 20 m


Native Distribution Myanmar, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Indonesia (Java)
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Riverine)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Evergreen, medium, wide-spreading tree of between 7 to 20 m tall.
Crown Coarse-looking, dome-umbrella shaped.
Trunk Bark smooth and often blotched with lichens.
Foliage Even-pinnate compound, with up to 8 pairs of large oblong leaflets. Young leaves purplish, maturing to cream-coloured with purplish-red leaf edge and rachis, then green. New growth usually appears after a dry spell.
Stems Young pendulous flushes purplish-red, limp, and hanging in a tassel, before stiffening upon maturation.
Flowers Cauliflorous, bisexual, slightly fragrant (especially at night), petal-less, and colours of the flowers come from the sepals. As the flowers mature, a dark red eye develops. It flowers heavily after pronounced dry weather.
Fruit Purplish large, flattened pods, swell upon maturation and splitting into 2 coiling halves when ready for disperse. Each seed is large, hard and black.
Habitat Naturalized along bank of rocky streams, grows well on dry ground too.
Cultivation It is a shade tolerant species, and can be planted as an understorey tree, or in between larger trees to create forested environment. Propagate by air-layering and seeds.
Etymology Genus epithet 'Saraca' is from the Indian word 'asoka', and species epithet 'thaipingensis' refers to the town of Taiping in Malaysia, probably the place where this plant was first described.
Ethnobotanical Uses Others: Medicinal: The Malays recorded that the fruits has some medicinal properties. Timber & Products The roots are used to make handles of parangs.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Foliage, Fragrant (Flowers) (Night, Day), Ornamental Fruits
Landscape Uses Suitable for Roadsides, General, Riverine, Shade Providing Tree / Palm
Thematic Landscaping Golden Garden, Fragrant / Aromatherapy Garden, Naturalistic Garden

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Butterfly Host Plant, Butterfly-Attracting, Bee-Attracting
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna) (Insects (Bee))
Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic (Explosive Dehiscence, Gravity)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Easy to Grow, Waterlogged Soils (Drains Site)
Propagation Method Seed, Air-Layering


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Purple
Foliar Type Compound (Even-Pinnate)
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Oblong)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Mucronate
Foliar Base Acute
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.0 (Tree - Intermediate Canopy)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Mature Bark Texture Smooth
Root Type Underground (Tap Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Orange, Yellow / Golden
Flower Symmetry Radial
Flower Size - Remarks 1.5 cm
Inflorescence Type Corymb
Flowering Period Hot & Dry Period
Flower Lifespan on Plant Several Weeks
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Purple
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type Dehiscent Dry Fruit , Legume / Pod

Image Repository



Master ID 1818
Species ID 3111
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: 18 February 2022.