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Polyspora singaporeana (Wall. ex Ridl.) Niissalo & L.M.Choo

Family Name: Theaceae
Synonyms: Gordonia singaporeana Wall. ex Ridl.
Common Name: Singapore Gordonia
Full Sun Semi Shade Moderate Water Native to Singapore Ornamental Flowers Tree


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants)
Plant Growth Form Tree (Big (>30m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Irregular
Maximum Height 31 m


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

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is an evergreen tree up to about 31 m tall, with black, scaly bark.
Foliage Its spirally arranged, stalked leaves have thinly leathery leaf blades that are elliptic or oblong-lance-shaped, 7–15 by 2.5–8 cm, and withering dull red. The leaf blades also have margins that are round-toothed or saw-toothed.
Flowers Its stalked flowers are fleshy, scentless, about 3.8 cm wide, and found singly in the upper leaf axils. The cream-white-petalled flowers open at dusk, with the petals falling off the next morning.
Fruits Its woody fruits are oblong, 3–3.5 cm long, and mature from green to brown. The ripe fruits split from the tip to base into five parts to reveal flat, winged seeds. Its seeds are also 2–2.5 cm long.
Habitat It grows in primary and mature secondary forests, from lowlands up to 1300 m altitude. It occurs locally in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Mount Imbiah (Sentosa), in the vicinity of MacRitchie Reservoir, and Pulau Tekong.
Etymology Latin Gordonia, commemorating an English horticulturist, J. Gordon (d. 1781); Latin singaporeana, of or from Singapore, referring to one locality in the natural distribution of this species
Ethnobotanical Uses Timber & Products ( The timber may be used in light construction such as building boats.)

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is suitable as a park tree for its ornamental flowers.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils
Landscape Uses Parks & Gardens

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)
Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic

Plant Care and Propagation

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


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Leathery, Thin
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Lanceolate, Elliptical, Oblong)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Serrate / Toothed, Crenulate

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Cream / Off-White, White
Flower Grouping Solitary
Flower Location Axillary
Flower Symmetry Radial

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Brown
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Dehiscent Dry Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Capsule
Mature Seed Colour(s) Brown

Image Repository



Master ID 32321
Species ID 6729
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: 22 September 2022.