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$5 tree.JPG
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Gentianaceae
Genus: Cyrtophyllum
C. fragrans
Binomial name
Cyrtophyllum fragrans
  • Fagraea fragrans Roxb.
  • Fagraea peregrina (Reinw.) Blume
  • Fagraea ridleyi Gand.
  • Cyrtophyllum peregrinum
In the Kandy botanic garden, Sri Lanka

The tembusu is a large evergreen tree in the family Gentianaceae, native to Southeast Asia (from Indo-China to New Guinea). It is the Malay name for Cyrtophyllum fragrans (synonym Fagraea fragrans).[1]

Its trunk is dark brown, with deeply fissured bark, looking somewhat like a bittergourd. The tree grows in an irregular shape from 10 to 25 metres high,[2] with light green oval-shaped leaves, and yellowish flowers with a distinct fragrance. The fruits of the tree are bitter tasting red berries, which are eaten by Pteropus fruit bats.[3]

Common names[edit]

Buabua (Fiji Islands), Urung (Philippines), Temasuk (Sabah), Tatrao, Trai (Vietnam), Kan Krao (Thailand), Tembesu (Indonesia), Anan, Anama (Burma), Munpla (Thailand, Laos), Ta Trao (Cambodia).


The trunk of this tree can produce very hard wood that can be used to make chopping boards.

The wood can last over a hundred years, particularly as termites and weevils do not eat this kind of wood. People always use this wood for creating the floors of their homes and love to sleep on it.

Cultural significance[edit]

The tree is pictured on the Singaporean five-dollar bill.

In Thailand, it is the provincial tree of Surin Province and the university tree of Ubonratchathani.


  1. ^ POWO: Cyrtophyllum fragrans (Roxb.) DC. (retrieved 12 November 2020)
  2. ^ Tropical plants site description
  3. ^ Hargreaves, Dorothy; Hargreaves, Bob (1970). Tropical Trees of the Pacific. Kailua, Hawaii: Hargreaves. p. 61.

External links[edit]