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Terminalia subspathulata


Terminalia subspathulata King

Family Name: Combretaceae
Common Name: Jelawai Jaha, Medang Salah, Malayan Terminalia, Jelawi, Pelawei

Terminalia subspathulata or Jelawai Jaha is a native tree of Singapore that is critically endangered. Growing up to 45 m tall, Jelawai Jaha has spoon to spatula-shaped leaves and greenish to yellow flowers. The winged fruit is broad, light yellow and smooth.


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 (Big (>30m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Tiered, Conical
Maximum Height 45 m


Native Distribution Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Borneo, and Java
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 up to 45 m tall, with a tiered, widely conical, narrowly flat-topped crown.
Foliage Leaves are leathery, glossy green above, bluish green below, spoon to spatula-shaped. They measure between 4 - 14 cm long by 1.5 - 5 cm wide, arranged spirally towards the ends of the twigs. The leaf blades are also bluntly or scarcely tipped, with narrowly recurved edges.
Flowers Flowers are greenish or yellow coloured, borne on long shoots between 6 - 20 cm at the leaf axils.
Fruits The fruit is dry, flattened, 2-winged, measuring 2 - 3.3 cm by 3.5 - 5.5 cm wide. It is light yellow in colour, glabrous but velvety when young.
Habitat Up to 1350 m in altitude.
Associated Fauna Its flowers are insect-pollinated. Its rather open and tiered crown is utilised as nesting sites for large birds of prey.
Cultivation It can be propagated by seed.
Etymology Latin terminus, end, referring to the leaves being borne at the ends of the twigs; Latin sub, almost; Latin spathulatus, like a spatula, referring to the shape of the leaf blades
Ethnobotanical Uses Cultural / Religious ( Heritage Tree : There are currently 4 individuals of Terminalia subspathulata listed as Heritage Trees in Singapore. To find out more about these trees, please visit the Heritage Tree Register.)

Landscaping Features

Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Fertile Loamy Soils, Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils
SGMP Treatment

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Propagation Method Seed


Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Spiral
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s)
Foliar Venation Recticulate
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Acuminate, Acute, Obtuse, Rounded
Foliar Base Cuneate

Non - Foliar and Storage

Stem Type & Modification Woody
Root Type Underground (Tap Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower & Plant Sexuality 2 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Green, Yellow / Golden
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary
Flower Symmetry Radial
Inflorescence Type Spike
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Brown
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Indehiscent Dry Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Samara
Seed Quantity Per Fruit Few (1-5)


References Exell, A.W. (1948). Combretaceae. Flora Malesiana, ser. 1, Seed Plants, vol. 4, pt 1. Leiden: Naturalis Biodiversity Center.

Image Repository



Master ID 2010
Species ID 3302
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: 17 March 2023.