The Common Pulai or Alstonia angustiloba is a mid-canopy tree that can reach up to 40 m in height. It is native to Singapore and is naturally distributed across the primary or secondary forests and swamp forests of Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia, Borneo and Java.
It has buttress roots and its deeply fluted, dark grey trunk supports a pagoda-shaped crown. The Common Pulai has simple, glossy, dark green leaves that are oval shaped, arranged in whorls. The tree exudes latex when any part of the plant is damaged. In Singapore, flowering can be triggered by distinctly cool dry weather, and the tree produces many sprays of creamy-white flowers accompanied by a heady fragrance reminiscent of burnt sugar.
The Common Pulai and Indian Pulai (Alstonia scholaris) are both similar looking and commonly planted in Singapore’s urban landscapes. However, they can be differentiated by a few characteristics such as the colour of the flowers and the stipules. The Indian Pulai has greenish-yellow flowers and the Common Pulai has creamy-white flowers. The Indian Pulai has a stipule at the base of the leaf petiole while the Common Pulai does not.
This Common Pulai tree had a girth of 6.33 m when it was endorsed as a Heritage Tree in 2022.
The Singapore Island Country Club organizes tours to view the Heritage Trees with a minimum group size of 15 pax. Please contact Lifestyle@sicc.org.sg for more information.