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).
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, 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.
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 tree is pictured on the Singaporean five-dollar bill.
- POWO: Cyrtophyllum fragrans (Roxb.) DC. (retrieved 12 November 2020)
- Tropical plants site description
- Hargreaves, Dorothy; Hargreaves, Bob (1970). Tropical Trees of the Pacific. Kailua, Hawaii: Hargreaves. p. 61.
- Note: Fagraea cochinchinensis is now considered a synonym of Aidia cochinchinensis