Simpoh Air

Photo credit: Gary Chua Liat Seng

The Simpoh Air (Dillenia suffruticosa) is a large shrub that grows up to 7 m tall. It grows along forest edges, streams, and in marshes, secondary forests, and swampy grounds. This pioneer species can germinate and grow on nutrient-poor land such as white sand. It provides food and shelter for animals such as the Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier), as well as shade for other less hardy plants to establish themselves. The Simpoh Air has large bright yellow flowers with five petals. Each flower develops into a pink star-shaped fruit that splits open when ripe, revealing seeds that are covered by a fleshy red aril. The large leaves of this plant have been used to wrap food such as tempeh (fermented soya bean “cake”), or formed into shallow cones to contain traditional foods such as rojak (a Southeast Asian salad). .

Learn more about this plant here.

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