Herbs & Plants

Fagraea fragrans

Botanical Name: Fagraea fragrans
Family: Gentianaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales
Genus: Cyrtophyllum
Species: C. fragrans

*Cyrtophyllum fragrans
*Fagraea peregrina (Reinw.) Blume
*Fagraea ridleyi Gand.
*Cyrtophyllum peregrinum

Common Names: Ironwood, Tembusu

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

Habitat: Fagraea fragrans is native to E. Asia – India, Myanmar, Malaysia, Thailand, Indo-China, Indonesia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea. It grows in light primary and secondary forest in humid or seasonally inundated locations, avoiding stagnant water. In freshwater-swamp forest, found in association with Melaleuca spp. Also occurs naturally as a pioneer in burnt-over areas and lalang grassland.

Fagraea fragrans is an evergreen tree growing to 25 m (82ft) by 20 m (65ft) at a slow rate. 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.. The flowers are pollinated by Insects, Birds, Bats. It is noted for attracting wildlife.


A plant of the wet, lowland tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 400 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 20 – 30?c, but can tolerate 10 – 36?c. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 2,000 – 3,000mm, but tolerates 1,000 – 4,000mm. Grows best in a sunny position. Thrives in well-drained to swampy, periodically inundated habitats, occasionally even on permanently inundated localities, often along rivers or creeks. It can succeed on poor or degraded soils so long as they are well-drained, and even in lalang (Imperata cylindrica) grasslands, where it suppresses this noxious grass. Prefers a pH in the range 5 – 6, tolerating 4.5 – 6.5. Established plants are moderately drought tolerant. Considered a useful plantation species, as it is adaptable and hardy. The corky bark gives it some resistance to fire – an 8-year-old plantation in alang alang grassland suffered no damage from a passing fire. The lower branches are very persistent and pruning these promotes height growth. Trees coppice freely; locally, trees may often be pollarded for poles. Large trees are frequently hollow.

Edible Uses: The root may be edible.

Medicinal Uses: A decoction of the bark is used as a febrifuge to treat conditions such as malaria. A decoction of twigs and leaves is used to control dysentery and severe diarrhoea

Other Uses:
Street tree, Public open space, Specimen in large garden, Bonsai. Agroforestry Uses: The tree is used for reforestation purposes, at least partly due to its ability to suppress the dense cover of weeds, including Imperata cylindrica and Gleichenia linearis. It is planted in some regions to control soil erosion. It occurs naturally as a pioneer in burnt-over areas and poor sites such as alang alang (Imperata cylindrica) grassland. Other Uses The latex found under the skin of the fruits is often used as an adhesive. The heartwood is light yellowish brown, the sapwood light yellow with an unpleasant smell. The wood is medium weight, hard and very durable. This species is the main source of tembesu timber, considered to yield a first-class turnery timber. The nailing properties are good. The wood can be peeled into 1.5 mm thick veneer at a 90? peeling angle without pre-treatment with good results. This valuable and durable timber is used both as sawn wood as well as roundwood for posts and piles in the construction of houses, bridges and ships, and for railway sleepers, posts for electric and telephone lines, barrels, chopping blocks, furniture, cabinet work, door and windows sills and wood carvings. The wood yields a very high-quality fuel wood and charcoal.

Known Hazards : Skin rashes may develop when handling green logs with bark on

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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