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Pentace microlepidota


Pentace microlepidota Kosterm.

Family Name: Malvaceae

Pentace microlepidota , also known as Melunak, is a tree, up to 60 m tall. Branches, leaves and fruits are sparsely covered with tiny hair-like scales which are shaped like a star. It produces Melunak timber, a light hardwood that is used extensively for light construction.


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Species Summary

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants)
Plant Growth Form Tree
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Irregular
Maximum Height 60 m


Native Distribution Peninsular Malaysia
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Non-native

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a tree, up to 60 m tall, with buttresses up to 5 m high. The trunk can reach up to 0.8 m in diameter. The bark is smooth to scaly with lenticels in vertical rows. Branchlets are sparsely covered with tiny hair-like scales which are shaped like a star.
Foliage Leaves are leathery, orbicular to broadly ovate (15 – 21 cm long and 10 – 22 cm wide) with toothed (crenulate) leaf margin. Each leaf has about 5 pairs of secondary veins and a prominent mid rib. The leaf tip is shortly pointed while the leaf base is cordate. The underside of the leaf is covered with a layer of small greyish hair-like scales which are shaped like a star. The petiole is 8 – 14 cm long and swollen at both ends.
Fruit Fruit occur in a cluster on a fruit stalk, up to 27 cm long. The fruit stalk is covered with minute scales which are shaped like a star. Each fruit is about 3 cm long and 4 cm wide and has 5 semi-orbicular wings. The fruit is also covered with sparse minute hair-like scales.
Habitat It is found in lowland rainforest.
Associated Fauna Flowers are pollinated by insects.
Cultivation It can be propagated by seed.
Etymology Greek Pent, means five, referring to the five wings on the fruit of some species in this genus. Greek microlepidopta, means small scales, possibly with reference to the scales found on the plant.
Ethnobotanical Uses Timber & Products: It produces Melunak timber, a light hardwood that is used extensively for light construction such as decorative paneling, weatherboards, furniture making, mouldings, flooring, paddles musical instruments and even gunstocks. Furniture made from Melunak timber is decorative, durable and highly sought after.

Landscaping Features

Landscape Uses Parks & Gardens

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

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

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Well-Drained Soils


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Leathery
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Crenulate
Foliar Apex - Tip Acuminate
Foliar Base Cordate

Non - Foliar and Storage

Trunk Type (Non Palm) Woody
Root Type Underground

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type Indehiscent Dry Fruit , Samara
Seed Quantity Per Fruit Few (1-5)



Lemmens, R.H.M.J., Soerianegara, I., and Wong, W.C. (Editors). 1995. Plant Resources of South-East Asia Volume 5 (2). Timber Trees: Minor commercial timbers. Indonesia: Prosea Foundation. 655 pages. 

Kostermans, A.J.G.H. (1960). Miscellaneous Botanical Notes 1. Reinwardtia 5 (3): 233 – 254.


Image Repository



Master ID 33924
Species ID 8340
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 November 2022.