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  Melaleuca cajuputi Powell
  Family Name : Myrtaceae

  Synonyms : Melaleuca leucadendron, Melaleuca quinquenervia, Melaleuca leucadendra

  Common Names : Gelam, Paper Bark Tree, Kayu Puteh, Tea Tree, Paper-bark, Cajeput, Cajeput Oil Tree, White Tree, White Wood

  Chinese Name : 白千层

Gelam,Paper Bark Tree,Kayu Puteh,Tea Tree,Paper-bark,Cajeput,Cajeput Oil Tree,White Tree,White Wood
  • Record Info
  • Life Stage & Characteristics
    • Plant Division :
      Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
      Plant Growth Form :
      Tree (Big (>30m))
      Lifespan (in Singapore) :
      Mode of Nutrition :
      Plant Shape :
  • Biogeography
    • Native Distribution :
      Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, south-western Papua New Guinea, and northern Australia.
      Native Habitat :
      Terrestrial (Coastal Forest)
      Preferred Climate Zone :
      Local Conservation Status :
      Native to Singapore (Presumed Nationally Extinct (NE))
  • Description & Ethnobotany
    • Plant Morphology :
      Growth Form: It is an evergreen tree up to 40 m tall.
      Trunk: The trunk is spongy to the touch. Bark is white and flaky.
      Foliage: Its alternate, stalked leaves have leathery leaf blades that are elliptic to lance-shaped, greyish-green, and 3-12.5 by 1.1-3.75 cm, with distinct longitudinal veins.
      Flowers: Its flowering shoot is a densely-flowered single spike, or 2-3 together, with each being 3.5-9 by 2-2.5 cm. Its tiny flowers have white, greenish-white or cream petals.
      Fruits: Its fruits are cup-shaped to round, 3-3.5 by 3.5-4 mm, and contain many tiny seeds.
      Habitat :
      Mainly found in low swampy and regularly flooded coastal plains, often behind the true mangrove zone where it may form pure stands or mixed stands.
      Associated Fauna :
      It is a known food plant for the caterpillars of the atlas moth (Attacus atlas), Clethrogyna turbata, and Strepsicrates rhothia. The flowers are often visited by the olive-backed sunbird (Nectarinia jugularis) and crimson sunbird (Aethopyga siparaja).
      Cultivation :
      It can be propagated by seed.
      Etymology :
      Greek "melas", black. Greek "leukos", white, referring to the colours on the bark of the trunk and branches. Malay "kayu", wood. Malay "putih" white, referring to the white papery bark of the species.
      Ethnobotanical Uses :
      Food (Herb & Spice: The dried fruit are sold as spice.)
      Medicinal (The leaves are used to distill 'cajeputi oil' or 'tea tree oil' which has medicinal and antiseptic uses such as medical ointments. It is used to treat gout by the Burmese. The Indochinese use it for it for rheumatism and joint pains, as well as pain killer. In Malaysia, it is used in the treatment of colic and cholera. In Indonesia, the oil is used externally for burns, colic, cramps, earache, headache, skin diseases, toothache and wounds. Internally, it is used to induce sweating as a stimulant and as an antispasmodic. In Philippines, the leaves are used to treat asthma.), Timber & Products (The timber is hard and has a uniform texture and is popular for use in caving, cabinet work, boat building and fire wood. The bark flakes are used for insulation and for stuffing pillows.)
  • Landscaping Features
    • Desirable Plant Features :
      Ornamental Flowers
      Plant & Rootzone Preference/Tolerance :
      Waterlogged Soils
      Landscape Uses :
      Roadside Tree / Palm, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Coastal, Riverine, Pond / Lake / River
  • Fauna, Pollination & Dispersal
    • Associated Fauna :
      Bird-Attracting (Flowers), Caterpillar (Moth) Food Plant (Leaves; Associated with), Bee-Attracting
      Pollination Method(s) :
      Biotic (Fauna) (Insects (Bee))
      Seed / Spore Dispersal :
  • Plant Care & Propagation
    • Light Preference :
      Full Sun
      Water Preference :
      Moderate Water
      Plant Growth Rate :
      Propagation Method :
  • Foliar
    • Foliage Retention :
      Mature Foliage Colour(s) :
      Mature Foliage Texture(s) :
      Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) :
      Silver / Grey
      Foliar Type :
      Simple / Unifoliate
      Foliar Arrangement Along Stem :
      Foliar Attachment to Stem :
      Foliar Shape(s) :
      Non-Palm Foliage (Lanceolate; Elliptical)
      Foliar Venation :
      Foliar Margin :
      Leaf Area Index (LAI) * for Green Plot Ratio :
      3.0 (Tree - Intermediate Canopy)
  • Non-Foliar & Storage
    • Trunk Type (Non-Palm) :
      Woody, Twisted, Single
      Bark Colour(s) :
      Mature Bark Texture :
      Peeling / Flaking / Papery
      Stem Type & Modification :
  • Floral (Angiosperm)
    • Flower Colour(s) :
      Cream / Off-White, White
      Flower Grouping :
      Cluster / Inflorescence
      Inflorescence Type :
      Flowering Period :
      A Few Times Yearly
  • Fruit, Seed & Spore
    • Mature Fruit Colour(s) [Angiosperms & Gymnosperms] :
      Fruit Type :
      Dehiscent Dry Fruit (Capsule)
      Mature Seed Colour(s) :
  • References
    • Tan, P.Y., R.T. Corlett and H.T.W. Tan (Editors). 2010. A Field Guide to the Native Garden @ HortPark: an Urban Oasis of the Native Flora and Fauna of Singapore. Singapore: Centre for Urban Greenery and Ecology (National Parks Board) and National University of Singapore. 124pp
The information given on this website has been compiled from reference works on medicinal plants and/or pron only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Reliance on this information is strictly at your own risk. You should always consult your physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.

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