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Palaquium gutta


Palaquium gutta

Family Name: Sapotaceae
Common Name: Gutta Percha, Getah Merah, Taban Merah, Taban


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants)
Plant Growth Form Tree
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic


Native Distribution Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia, and Singapore
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Critically Endangered (CR))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a tree that grows up to 30 m tall.
Foliage Its spirally arranged, stalked leaves have leathery leaf blades that are dark green above, golden-coppery below, drop-shaped to narrowly drop-shaped, and 7.5–12.5 by 3.8–6.3 cm, with 20 veins or more.
Flowers Its flowers are in clusters of 4–5, axillary on the bare parts of branches. Its 6 sepals are brown and covered with fine hair. Its petals are white and 6 mm long.
Fruit Its berries are red, oblong, finely hairy, and 15–17 mm long.
Habitat It grows in forests, up to 1600 m altitude. It occurs locally in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Pulau Sakijang Pelepah, Sentosa, and a few other sites.
Etymology Palaquium, from the Philippines vernacular name, palak-palak, for the gutta percha tree; Latin gutta, derived from Malay getah, referring to the latex this species produces.
Ethnobotanical Uses Others: It is tapped for its latex (gutta percha). Gutta percha has been used extensively for submarine and underground cables owing to its non-conductivity for electricity and heat, and imperviousness to water. It has been used for the manufacturing of golf balls. It has been also used for medical and chemical instruments, in dentistry, for transmission belts and acid-resistant receptacles, as an adhesive, as a water-proofing agent and as an ingredient of chewing gum. Its main application is for protecting wounds and in dental clinics where it is useful for people allergic to synthetic fillers. Gutta-percha is used for fixing tools in their handles. Its timber is used as ‘nyatoh’, for plants, paneling, and for manufacture of fine furniture, decorative doors and veneers. Its seeds contain a fat used for manufacture of soap and candles, and sometimes for cooking.

Landscaping Features

SGMP Treatment

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Caterpillar Food Plant

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun, Semi-Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate


Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Leathery

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Cream / Off-White

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Red

Image Repository



Master ID 1996
Species ID 3288
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: 14 October 2021.