The Pink Mempat is a small to large sized tree that is native to Singapore. It can also be found naturally distributed in Indo-china, Sumatra, West Malaysia and the Philippines. It has an open crown, and can reach a height of 45 metres in its natural habitat such as in primary or secondary forests, along rivers and swamps. However, when grown in Singapore’s urban parks and gardens, it has been observed to reach about 35 m in height.
It is widely used as a landscape tree in Singapore and it is treasured for its beautiful light pink flowers, which are reminiscent of cherry blossoms. The Pink Mempat blooms seasonally, usually during the months of February and August. Around these times, the tree sheds its leaves, replacing its crown with a vivid, pink hued display of faintly fragrant flowers. The flowers are found in clusters of 1 to 6, in the axils of fallen leaves or on bare twigs. In streets lined with Pink Mempat trees, the synchronous flowering produces a beautiful scene akin to spring flowering. The plant is easy to spot when its crown is covered with light pink flowers nestled amidst a flush of reddish young foliage. As leaves mature, they change from red to green in colour.
Apart from its beauty as a landscape tree, the Pink Mempat is also valued for its wood known as derum, which is used for carving, charcoal, firewood, furniture, house construction, poles and turnery.
It is also the preferred local food plant for caterpillars of the archduke (Lexias pardalis dirteana). The adult of the archduke lays its eggs singly on the undersides of leaves and when the caterpillars hatch, they emerge to feed on the leaves of the host plant.
This beautiful Pink Mempat tree in East Coast Park Area C has a girth of 2.2 m when it was endorsed as a Heritage Tree in 2022.