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Bhesa paniculata


Bhesa paniculata Arn.

Family Name: Centroplacaceae
Common Name: Biku-biku, Malayan Spindle Tree

Bhesa paniculata, also known as Biku-biku, is a tree that have heart-shaped fruits. They gradually ripen from yellow to rose-red, and are fancied by birds and small mammals.


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 Rounded, Broad / Mushroom / Hemispherical
Maximum Height 35 m


Native Distribution Southern India, south Myanmar, Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Borneo
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Secondary Rainforest, Freshwater Swamp Forest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Least Concern (LC))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a medium-sized tree up to 35 m tall, with a dark green, heavy crown.
Foliage Its spirally arranged leaves have long stalks that are swollen at both ends. They also have thinly leathery leaf blades that are oval to oblong, pointing downwards, and 5.5–39 by 2–15 cm, with finely crowded, parallel veinlets between the secondary veins.
Flowers Its flowers are faintly fragrant, yellowish-cream or dark purplish-red, and 5 mm wide. They are also arranged in panicles up to 38 cm long at the end of leafy twigs.
Fruits Its 2-lobed fruits are flattened heart-shaped, 1–2 by 0.8–1.3 cm, yellow then rose-red, and found in large clusters. They split into two parts when ripe to reveal 2–4 seeds half covered with crimson pink pulp. Its seeds are rounded, pale brown, and 6–8 mm wide.
Habitat It grows in lowland primary and secondary forests, and peat swamp forest, to submontane forests up to 1,500 m altitude. It is occurs locally in Nee Soon Swamp Forest, in the vicinity of Upper Seletar Reservoir, and Old Upper Thomson Road.
Associated Fauna Its flowers are insect-pollinated and the fruits are eaten by birds and small mammals.
Etymology Pali bhesa and bhesa bol, referring to the resin of false myrrh; Latin paniculatus, having flowers arranged in a loose, branched cluster (a panicle)
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Fruits)
Food (Fruit & Vegetable : The fruits are edible.)
Timber & Products ( The wood is used for constructing houses, and making beams, floorboards, and poles. )
[Others]: It is occasionally cultivated as an ornamental tree.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping This species resembles oak- and chestnut-trees owing to its attractive cluster of yellowish-cream or dark purplish-red flowers. It also resembles the European spindle tree (Euonymus europaeus) owing to its attractive rose-red fruits. It may be suitable for parks and large gardens. It needs greater care after transplanting, as the transplanted trees or saplings tend to die easily from water stress so must be watered regularly during the establishment period.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Fruits
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils
Landscape Uses General, Parks & Gardens
SGMP Treatment

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

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

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun, Semi-Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast to Moderate
Propagation Method Seed

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Cream / Off-White, Purple, Red
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal
Inflorescence Type Panicle
Inflorescence Size - Length 38
Inflorescence Size - Unit m

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Red, Yellow / Golden
Mature Seed Colour(s) Brown
Seed Description Its seeds are rounded, pale brown, and 6–8 mm wide.
Seed Quantity Per Fruit Few (1-5)

Image Repository



Master ID 2014
Species ID 3306
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: 15 February 2022.