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Sterculia cordata


Sterculia cordata

Family Name: Malvaceae
Common Name: Kelumpang, Kembang

Sterculia cordata or Kelumpang is a native tree of Singapore. Leaves are egg to spoon or broadly elliptic leaves with a heart-shaped base, dense star-like hairs are found on the underside. Drooping clusters of bell-shaped, 5-lobed flowers, pink, reddish to orange coloured with a dark red centre found at the tip of the branches. The fruit is a red, woody follicle that spilt upon maturity revealing its elliptic dark seeds.


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Common Names
Species Summary

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Tree (Medium (16m-30m), Big (>30m))
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 45 m


Native Distribution Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia, Java, Borneo, the Philippines
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Secondary Rainforest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Critically Endangered (CR))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a tree that is briefly deciduous, generally to 20 m tall. In Borneo, it can reach to 45 m tall. It has horizontal branches in whorls and short buttresses at the base of the trunk.
Foliage Leaves are simple, spirally arranged and clustered towards the end of the twigs held on a petiole of 2 - 5 cm long covered in dense star-like hairs. The leaves are egg to spoon-shaped to broadly elliptic, measuring 8 - 30 cm long by 5 - 19 cm wide with a shallow heart-shaped to box-shaped base and abrupt to broadly pointed tip. Dense, star-like hairs are found on the underside, the upper surface remains smooth.
Flowers Flowers are monecious where the female and male parts are borne on separate flowers. They are produced in drooping clusters of bell-shaped flowers, pink, reddish to orange coloured with a dark red centre. Star-like hairs are found on both sides of the 5-lobed flowers. Female flowers measure at 4 - 8 mm long, slightly larger than male flowers of 3 - 5 mm long.
Fruit The fruit is pendulous, woody, oblong follicle in groups of up to 5, measuring 9 cm long, 5 cm wide. Upon maturity, the fruit turns red and splits open to reveal its dark elliptic seeds.
Habitat Occurs in primary and secondary forest in low altitude, sometimes on limestone, often in seasonally flooded areas. <1,2>
Associated Fauna Its flowers are insect-pollinated.
Cultivation It can be propagated by seed.
Etymology Latin, cordatus, means heart shaped, referring to the leaf base. 
Ethnobotanical Uses Timber & Products: It produces lightweight softwood. 

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers
Landscape Uses Suitable for Roadsides, Parks & Gardens
Plant & Rootzone Preference or Tolerance Remarks Sandy soil 

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Propagation Method Seed
Propagation Method Remarks Presence of hard seed coat makes it difficult to germinate. Part of the seed coat can be carefully removed to allow water to enter without damaging the embryo. 


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Hairy / Hirsute
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Spiral
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Elliptical, Oblong, Obovate, Ovate)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Acuminate, Acute, Rounded
Foliar Base Cordate, Truncate / Square

Non - Foliar and Storage

Bark Colour(s) Orange-brown, Dark brown
Mature Bark Texture Cracked, Scaly
Stem Type & Modification Woody
Root Type Underground (Tap Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Unisexual Flowers , Monoecious
Flower Colour(s) Red, Orange, Pink
Flower Texture(s) Hairy / Hirsute
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal
Flower Symmetry Radial
Individual Flower Shape Campaulate / Bell-shaped
Inflorescence Type Panicle
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Red
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type Dehiscent Dry Fruit , Follicle
Mature Seed Colour(s) Black, Brown
Seed Quantity Per Fruit Few (1-5), Moderate (6-10)



<1> Gardner, S., Sidisunthorn, P. & Chayamarit, K. (2016), Malvaceae (Sterculiaceae). Forest Trees of Southern Thailand, vol. 2, pp. 1169. Bangkok: Kobfai Publishing Project.

<2> Wilkie, P & Berhaman, A. (2011). Sterculiaceae. Tree Flora of Sabah and Sarawak, vol 7., pp. 390-391. Selangor: Forest Research Institute Malaysia.


Image Repository



Master ID 29419
Species ID 3728
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: 19 April 2023.