Dillenia suffruticosa (Griff.) Martelli

Etymology Genus After Johann Jacob Dillen, an 18th century German botanist
Species Shrubby
Family Dilleniaceae
Synonyms Wormia suffruticosa Griff.
Common Names Simpoh Air, CB Leaf, Simpoh Ayer
Status Native: Common
Form Shrub
Native Distribution West Malesia


Dillenia suffruticosa is a a common sun-loving large shrub up to 6m. It is one of the key species in the Adinandra belukar, while also present along forest edges, marshlands, and other secondary forests. The leaves are immediately noticeable, being broad and large with serrated margins. The leaf base has a slit that protects the young bud.They flower and fruit often, both being very striking; the former a bright yellow while the latter will split into a pretty star shape, exposing the reddish seeds.

Interesting Facts:

Simpoh Air flowers and fruits at 3am (Corner, 1997). It is pollinated by carpenter bees and small beetles, while the attractive scarlet seeds are eaten and dispersed by birds. Many local guys undergoing their national service training will be acquainted to this shrub as the CB Leaf plant, a crude reference of the slit at the leaf base to a female's genital.

The large leaves are used for wrapping food like the tempeh (fermented soybean).

A cluster of Simpoh in Kent Ridge.


Fold at the leaf base.

Yellow flower.

Opened fruit.

Under a forest of Simpoh Air, with their characteristic bending stout stems.


Corner EJH. (1997) Wayside Trees of Malaya. Volume 1. 4th edition. The Malaysian Nature Society, Kuala Lumpur. 476 pp.

Author: Jake
Posted: 2017-11-24 / Modified: 2017-12-25