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Bird tree: Syzygium polyanthum or salam

on 23rd June 2010

Syzygium polyanthum or salam is an excellent bird tree. When in fruits, the tree is invaded by numerous birds (above: Pink-necked Green Pigeon, Treron vernans) that come to feed on the small, rounded, red to purple-black single-seeded fruits (below right). In the process, the birds help disperse the seeds. Once upon a time, children used to love eating these sweetish fruits. The aromatic leaves are used in local cooking as a spice. Besides the leaves, the bark and roots have medicinal uses.

This is a medium-sized tree of about 30 metres tall that grows in secondary forests. They have since been planted along many roads during the latter years of Singapore’s Garden City campaign. Their presence has helped bring back wildlife to the urban areas. The small flowers are in loose bunches that arise from twigs behind the leaves (above left). Cream, turning pink or reddish with age, they are faintly fragrant.

YC Wee
Singapore
June 2010
(Image of Pink-necked Green Pigeons by Chan Yoke Meng; those of flowers and fruits by YC Wee)

Reference:
Wee, Y. C. (2003). Tropical trees and shrubs – A selection for urban plantings. Sun Tree Pub., Singapore. 392pp.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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