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Sterculia rubiginosa


Sterculia rubiginosa Vent.

Family Name: Malvaceae
Synonyms: Sterculia angustifolia Jack (Wall), Sterculia brachycarpa Ridl., Sterculia cuneata R. Br., Sterculia elliptica Airy Shaw, Sterculia ferruginea R. Br., Sterculia jackiana Wall., Sterculia obovata Merr., Sterculia rostrata Ridl., Sterculia rufa Korth., Sterculia stipularis R. Br.
Common Name: Rusty Sterculia, Kelumpang, Kelumpang Bukit, Kelumpang Gajah, Kayu Amplas, Bayur Betina, Dedamak Hitam, Pokok Sakhlat, Tangisan Burung, Unting-unting Besar


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
Plant Shape Rounded, Broad / Mushroom / Hemispherical, Irregular
Maximum Height 6 m to 20 m


Native Distribution Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Brunei, and Indonesia
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Secondary Rainforest, Freshwater Swamp Forest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Vulnerable (VU))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a bushy tree that can grow up to 20 m tall.
Foliage Its spirally arranged, stalked leaves have leaf blades that are papery to leathery, covered with hair below, lance-shaped, oval or egg-shaped, 7–27 cm by 3–13 cm, with 8–16 pairs of side veins and prominent venation underneath.
Flowers The plant is monoecious, producing both unisexual and bisexual flowers. The flowers are green, yellow or white with red center, commonly covered with pink hairs, about 1.3 cm across, and occur on many-flowered flowering clusters (inflorescences) that are 6–30 cm long.
Fruit The fruit is a follicle, which is a seed-pod that will split open along one side when dry. 3–5 follicles occur in a cluster. Each follicle is oblong, red or orange-brown, densely covered with fine hair outside, 3–10 cm long by 1.5–2.5 cm wide, and contains 2–6 seeds. Each seed is black, round or oval, and 10–18 by 6–8 mm.
Habitat It grows in both primary and secondary forests, limestone hill forests and swamps, up to 1600 m altitude. It occurs locally in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and Central Catchment Nature Reserve.
Associated Fauna Its flowers are pollinated by insects. Its seeds are probably dispersed by birds.
Cultivation It is propagated by seed.
Etymology Latin stercus, dung, referring to the smell of flowers; Latin rubiginosa, rust-coloured
Ethnobotanical Uses Timber & Products: It is harvested for timber for use in sheltered parts of houses.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is suitable for planting along streetscapes, parks and gardens for its lush, rounded crown and ornamental flowers and fruits.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Fruits, Ornamental Form
Landscape Uses General, Suitable for Roadsides, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Riverine, Pond / Lake / River, Marsh / Bog
Thematic Landscaping Naturalistic Garden

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

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

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils
Propagation Method Seed


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Papery, Leathery
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate, Spiral
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Ovate, Oval, Lanceolate, Elliptical)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.0 (Tree - Dense Canopy)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Unisexual & Bisexual Flowers(Sub-dioecious)
Flower Colour(s) Cream / Off-White, Pink, White
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary
Flower Symmetry Radial
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Red
Mature Fruit Texture(s) Velvety / Furry / Tomentose
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type

Image Repository



Master ID 1849
Species ID 3142
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.