The Penaga Laut is a slow-growing, evergreen tree that can reach 30 m in height. This species is native to Singapore and is critically endangered in the wild locally.
A wide-spreading crown supported by a short, thick trunk with dark brown bark that is deeply cracked (fissured) is a characteristic of Penaga Laut. The scientific name “Calophyllum” means "beautiful leaf" in Greek and aptly describes the attractive dark green, glossy, and leathery leaves. Lined with numerous slender parallel veins, this feature is distinctive of the Calophyllum genus. During flowering, clusters of white blooms emit a sweet fragrance, which helps to attract pollinating insects like bees. Its ball-shaped fruit measures 2-5 cm in diameter and is light green in colour.
Penaga Laut is exceptional as all parts of the tree – the leaves, bark, flowers, fruit, seeds, wood, root – can be used. For example, the fragrant oil pressed from the seeds is valued for use in cosmetics and soap-making, and has medicinal qualities. The resin, leaves and roots also have medicinal uses while the heavy, reddish wood can be used in heavy construction, boat building and for furniture.
This Heritage Tree near the entrance to Bedok Jetty has a unique uneven crown believed to be caused by it being constantly wind swept by the coastal breezes. Its girth measured 4.7 m when it was endorsed in 2021.