The Sindora × changiensis is a member of the Legume family (Fabaceae) and is the only specimen known to grow in the wild in Singapore. This tree is a natural hybrid endemic to Singapore and is the first record of natural hybridisation in the genus Sindora. The seeds from this tree have been collected over the years and nurtured in our nurseries and its offspring have been planted all around Singapore.
The tree has a massive crown with pinnate compound leaves that are glossy on the top surface and thinly velvety with short golden hairs on the lower surface. Typically, flowering occurs from April to May and fruits tend to form by August. The fruits are flat, roundish seedpods with some stiff spikes. When properly dry, they split open revealing a single round seed with a yellowish brown aril. Flowers have been observed to be pollinated by the Giant Honey Bee (Apis dorsata), which are able to travel great distances while pollinating flowers. The Red-breasted Parakeet (Psittacula alexandri) has been observed to nest on this tree.
This tree was previously thought to be Sindora wallichii (Sepetir) which is likely the same species as the legendary Changi Tree. The famous Changi tree was so tall and distinctive in the pre-war landscape of Singapore that it was featured in sea navigation charts starting in 1888, for over a century. It was cut down in 1942 by British forces to prevent the Japanese from using the tree as an artillery marker during World War II.
Early aerial photographs taken around 1946 showed this mature Sindora × changiensis tree growing as part of a remnant of the rainforest patch on the grounds of the bungalow at Cranwell Road. This bungalow originally served as a residence for senior British military officers based at Changi. It is believed that this tree is one of the original inhabitants of the rainforest that once occupied Changi. Carbon dating has estimated this tree to be at least 226 years old!
This Heritage Tree had a girth of 4.2 m when it was endorsed in 2003.