Singapore Government Logo

A Singapore Government Agency Website

Adenanthera malayana subsp. malayana


Adenanthera malayana Kosterm. subsp. malayana

Family Name: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)

Adenanthera malayana subsp. malayana is a endangered tree in Singapore. It can reach up to 45 m and have bipinnate leaves. The fruit pod twists into a spiral and splits open when ripe. Each fruit contains about 10 red and black ornamental glossy seeds.


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

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Tree
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Irregular
Maximum Height 45 m


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

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a tree, up to 45 m tall, and sometimes with buttresses, up to 1.2 m high.
Foliage Leaves are green, compound (bipinnate) and arranged alternately. Each leaf comprises of 2 to 3 pairs of pinnae. Each pinna has (2-) 3 - 5 leaflets on each side. Leaflets are ovate to elliptic-suborbicular ( 1.8 - 5 (-8) cm long and 1 - 4 (-5) cm wide). The leaflet base is slightly asymmetrically cuneate while the tip is rounded or notched (emarginate) or mucronulate. The upper surface of the leaflets does not have microscope pellucid dots.
Flowers Flowers occur in a cluster as a raceme inflorescence, about 8 - 15 cm long. Flower is tiny and has white petals that turn yellow. Each flower has 10 stamens which are white and turning yellow with age, as well as an ovary with scattered apressed hairs.
Fruit Fruit is a pod which twist into a spiral before splitting. Reaching up to 8 - 15 cm long, it turns purplish black and split open when ripe. Each fruit contains about 10 seeds within. The seeds are glossy red and black, obovoid or orbicular (0.65 - 0.8 cm wide) with distal black spot.
Habitat It grows in rainforests and on rocky and sandy soils up to 900 m altitude.
Associated Fauna Flowers are pollinated by insects. The bright red seeds are eaten by birds which mistake them for juicy red fruits.
Cultivation It can be propagated by seeds.
Ethnobotanical Uses Cultural / Religious: There are currently 1 individual of Adenanthera malayana subsp. malayana listed as Heritage Trees in Singapore. o find out more about this tree, please visit the Heritage Tree Register.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Seeds
Landscape Uses General, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Shade Providing Tree / Palm

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun, Semi-Shade
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
Foliar Type Compound
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) White, Yellow / Golden
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Purple
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type Dehiscent Dry Fruit , Legume / Pod


References Nielsen, I.C. & & Hopkins, H.C.F. (1992). Mimosaceae (Leguminosae-Mimosoideae). In de Wilde,  W.J.J.O et al (eds.) Flora Malesiana. Series 1 Vol. 11 (1). Pp. 1–226. Leiden: Rijksherbarium/Hortus Botanicus, Leiden University

Image Repository



Master ID 29186
Species ID 3495
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: 29 January 2024.

You may also like