Simpoh Air

The shrubby Simpoh Air (Dillenia Suffruticosa) is a distinctive plant which grows vigorously on eroded soil, wasteland, forest edges and swampy areas. Everything about this plant is large, large ribbed leaves and large yellow blooms. The flowers open at 3 am and last only a day, and almost every flower bears fruit. This plant is common and popular in the tropics, in Brunei Darussalam, it is the official national flower.

Simpoh Air (Dillenia Suffruticosa)

Some of you are probably wondering why I chose a face down flower bud to shoot, for a simple reason, it’s because all the blooms of the Dillenia Suffruticosa face down while the fruits face up! Of course, I was unaware of this during the shoot and was hunting high and low for a face up bloom, without success, naturally. The ripe fruit splits open too at 3 am, into pinkish star-shaped segments to reveal seeds covered in red arils. The unopened fruits are surrounded by thick red sepals. The tiny bit red flesh (arils) surrounding the seeds are irresistible to birds, which quickly disperse the seeds.

Daun Simpoh Air 1

Large Distinctive Green Ribbed Leaves

The large leaves of the Simpoh Air are used to wrap food such as tempeh (fermented soybean cakes), or formed into shallow cones to contain traditional ‘fast food’ such as rojak. The Simpoh Air root system can reach deep down underground water sources, it is among the few plants that can germinate and grow on white sands. Their presence help to guide local folk where to dig a well. As a pioneer species, it provides shade for other less hardy plants to establish themselves, besides providing food and shelter for other plants and creatures.

Green Eye Candy

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All photos: Fujifilm X-E2 with XF 35mm


4 thoughts on “Simpoh Air

  1. Such a lovely plant with lovely leaves. I think I’ve seen this plant a few times in Malaysia when I was a kid and went on school excursions to forest areas. Very interesting to know it can be a marker on where to dig wells and to find water. The greenery of these leaves remind me of pandan leaves, which is also used to wrap quite a few kinds of food in Malaysia 🙂

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