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Saraca declinata


Saraca declinata (Jack) Miq.

Family Name: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Synonyms: Jonesia declinata Jack 
Common Name: Red Saraca, Gapis, Kachang Kachang, Langsat Monyet

Saraca declinata or Red Saraca, is a tree prized for its large clusters of colourful flowers which bloom several times a year. The colours of the flowers vary widely, ranging from yellow to red, and they emit a subtle fragrance. Found naturally in rainforests along streams and rivers, it thrives in cultivation when grown under full sunlight and fertile, well-drained soil.


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
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 30 m


Native Distribution Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Borneo.
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Non-native

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a tree, sometimes 3 – 6 m tall but it can grow up to 30 m tall and 60 cm diameter. Buttresses are very small.
Foliage Leaf is 10 – 75 cm long and has (1–)3–5(–7) pairs of leaflets. Each leaflet is elliptic-lanceolate, lanceolate, or oblanceolate, about 4 – 30 (-50) cm long and 1.5 – 11 (-20) cm wide. Each leaflet has 6 – 12 pairs of lateral veins. The pair of uppermost leaflets are the largest while the pair of leaflets closest to the base of leaf often clasp twig. Leaflets turn pale brown or greenish, rarely blackish brown when dry.
Flowers Inflorescence is branched (corymb), measuring up to 15(– 30) cm wide, and usually comprises of a blend of various colours simultaneously. The flower’s colour is variable, ranging from yellow, orange-pink and red, and may have a darker eye in the center. Each flower is accompanied by a showy and spreading bracteoles (0.4 – 2 cm long) which can persist but may also be deciduous sometimes. The flower stalk spans about 1 – 1.5 (–3.5) cm long. Each flower has (3 –) 4 (– 5) stamens and hairless filaments. The flowers emit a subtle fragrance and observed to bloom several times a year in Singapore.
Fruit The woody fruit pod is oblong or lanceolate (about 7 – 31 cm long and 3 – 7 cm wide) with a beaked tip (about 1 cm long). Fruit pods coil and split open when ripe. Each fruit pod contains 6 – 8 seeds inside.
Habitat It is found in rainforests, along rivers and streams, swamp forests, hill slopes and occasionally on slopes of limestone hills, up to 800 m altitude.
Associated Fauna Flowers are pollinated by insects.
Etymology The genus epithet is derived from the Indian Sanskrit name Asoka. The specific epithet, in Latin, means bent or curved downwards, possibly referring to the drooping branches.
Ethnobotanical Uses Timber & Products: The wood is sometimes used to make knife handles.
Cut - Dried Flower: In Laos, the flowers are used in religious worship. <4>
Others: It is commonly cultivated in Singapore for its ornamental flowers. In Thailand and Laos, the flowers and seeds are eaten by indigenous villagers. <5,6>

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is commonly cultivated in Singapore for its ornamental flowers.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers
Landscape Uses Parks & Gardens

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Bee-Attracting
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate


Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth, Glossy / Shiny
Foliar Type Compound
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.0 (Tree - Intermediate Canopy)
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Remarks Purplish-Red, Pink, Light Green

Non - Foliar and Storage

Trunk Type (Non Palm) Woody
Root Type Underground

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Orange, Pink, Red, Yellow / Golden
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Inflorescence Type Compound Corymb
Flowering Period A Few Times Yearly
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Fruit Type Dehiscent Dry Fruit
Seed Quantity Per Fruit Moderate (6-10)



<1> Ding, Hou., Leiden, K., Larsen, K. & Larsen, S.S. (1996). Caesalpinioideae (Leguminosae-Caesalpinioideae). Flora Malesiana Series 1 Vol 12 (2) pg 409 – 730. 

<2> Ding, Hou. (2000). Leguminosae-Caesalpinioideae. In: Soepadmo, E. & Saw L.G. (eds) Tree Flora of Sabah Sarawak, vol. 3, pp. 119 – 180. Malaysia: Sabah Forestry Department, Forest Research Institute Malaysia, & Sarawak Forestry Department.

<3> Larsen, K., Larsen, S.S., and Vidal, J.E. (1984). Leguminosae–Caesalpinioideae. In: Smitinand, T. & Larsen, K. (eds) Flora of Thailand. Vol. 4 (1), pp. 1 – 129. Bangkok: The Forest Herbarium, Royal Forest Department.

<4> Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden (2024). Saraca declinata. Accessed 28 March 2024.

<5> Vilayleck, E. (2013). Botanica of Laos: The Vegetables-Flowers of Laos. Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden Newsletter Nr. 9: 10 – 19.  

<6> Zuijderhoudt, G.F.P. (1967). A revision of the genus Saraca L. (Leguminnosae – Caesalpiniaceae). Blumea 15 (2): 413 – 425.

Image Repository



Master ID 1819
Species ID 3112
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: 28 March 2024.