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Scientific classification Edit this classification
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).[2]

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,[3] 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.[4]

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).[citation needed]


The trunk of this tree can produce very hard wood that can be used to make chopping boards and floors.[citation needed] The wood can last over a hundred years, as it is not consumed by termites and weevils.

Cultural significance[edit]

The tree is pictured on the Singaporean five-dollar bill.[citation needed]

In Thailand, it is the provincial tree of Surin Province and the university tree of Ubonratchathani.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) & IUCN SSC Global Tree Specialist Group (2018). "Cyrtophyllum fragrans". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2018: e.T135891057A135895554. Retrieved 1 January 2024.
  2. ^ POWO: Cyrtophyllum fragrans (Roxb.) DC. (retrieved 12 November 2020)
  3. ^ Tropical plants site description
  4. ^ Hargreaves, Dorothy; Hargreaves, Bob (1970). Tropical Trees of the Pacific. Kailua, Hawaii: Hargreaves. p. 61.

External links[edit]