Singapore Government Logo

A Singapore Government Agency Website

Tarenna odorata


Tarenna odorata (Roxb.) B.L.Rob.

Family Name: Rubiaceae
Synonyms: Tarenna grandifolia (Hook.f.) Ridl., Webera grandifolia Hook.f.

Tarenna odorata is a large shrub to treelet that is native to Singapore. Growing up to 2 m in height, it has leathery, elliptic, spoon to egg-shaped leaves, smooth on the top and sparse hairs can be found along the midrib and veins on the underside. Flowers are fragrant, whitish, pendulous borne on an inflorescence of 13 - 17 cm long. The fruit is borne in clusters, round, berry-like, turns from green to black upon ripening.


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Species Summary

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Shrub
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 2 m


Native Distribution Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Secondary Rainforest, Freshwater Swamp Forest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Critically Endangered (CR))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a treelet or large shrub that can grow to 2 m tall.
Foliage Leaves are leathery, elliptic, spoon to egg-shaped measuring 14 - 35 cm long and 4.5 - 13 cm wide. It has a tail-like tip (cuspidate), smooth on the top, sparse hairs may be found along the midrib and secondary veins. Stipules are found at the interpetiolar nodes, broadly triangular, brown when dried. Leaves are held on a stalk, 10 - 40 mm in length.
Flowers Flowers are borne on an inflorescence covered in dense short hairs measuring 13 - 17 cm long. Flowers are pendulous, whitish, 5-lobed, tubular, fragrant. Lobes are long than the tube measuring at 5 - 7 mm long.
Fruit The fruit is round, berry like, produced in pendulous clusters, each measuring to 5 mm wide.
Habitat Occurs along lowland forests including swampy ground. <1>
Similar Tarenna odorata and Tarenna fragrans are similar in appearance. The key differences are Tarenna odorata tend to produce larger leaves with a tail-like tip (cuspidate), held on a longer stalk, pendulous flowers and fruit clusters. While Tarenna fragrans have smaller leaves, broad pointed tip (acuminate), held on a shorter stalk, upright flowers and fruit clusters. The flowers and fruit of Tarenna odorata are pendulous, lobes are longer than floral tube compared to Tarenna fragrans which have upright flowers and fruit, the lobes are shorter than the floral tube.
Etymology Genus epithet 'Tarenna' derived from Sinhalese name 'Maha-tarnana' for a plant from this genus which is distributed from the Indian sub-continent to Indonesia (Borneo). Odorata, in latin, means being fragrant, with reference to the scented flowers.

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Fertile Loamy Soils, Moist Soils
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Elliptical, Obovate, Ovate)
Foliar Venation Recticulate
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Cuspidate
Foliar Base Cuneate

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Bisexual Flowers , Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) White
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal
Flower Symmetry Radial
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Black
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type Fleshy Fruit , Berry


References <1> Wong, K.M. et al. (2019). Flora of Singapore 13(1): 307. Singapore: Singapore Botanic Gardens, National Parks Board.

Image Repository



Master ID 2002
Species ID 3294
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: 23 May 2024.