Endospermum malaccense

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Local names:
Filipino (gubas), Hindi (bakotta), Malay (terbulan,sesenduk,sesendok,membulan,kayu labuh,garung), Tamil (terbulan,ekor belangkas), Thai (taphong,lokhao,famo), Trade name (sesendok)

Endospermum malaccense is a medium to large dioecious tree to 40 m high and a diameter of 3 m with diffused dome-shaped crowns. The bole is stout and columnar with thick equal to steep fluted buttresses. The bark of this species is grey-fawn, smooth, hooped and becoming regose to scaly patches. Inner bark is thick and coarsely granular, cream with orange flecks.

Leaves cordate, 7-25 cm x 4-22 cm, clustered at the end of twigs; leaf blades rounded to strongly heart-shaped at the base while leaf stalks are 13 cm long with two prominently raised glands at the junction of the leaf-blade.

Flowers an erect spikes, 15 cm long and protruding above the leaves; male flower yellow, short side axes, 9-11 stamens and fragrant; the female flower white with a 2-3 celled ovary and a 1.5 mm wide stigma.

Fruits rounded or occasionally bilobed, 13 cm wide, with finely velvety blue-green walls containing white coloured sap.


It occurs in the lowland to lower montane forest, especially in secondary growth, along streams and on hills and slopes together with Balakata baccata (Roxb.) Esser. It is an opportunist species. Its occurrence characterizes former shifting cultivation activities in the Malaysia.

Native range
Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand

Tree management

Site preparation: The area should be clear-felled and burnt, which is usually carried out during the dry period. Once the area is prepared, transplanting can be conducted during the rainy season at the end of the year.

Planting: Being a light demanding species, E. malaccense can be planted in open. The method of establishing is through clear-felling and burning area. This operation is usually carried out during the dry period. Once the area is prepared, transplanting can be done to take the advantage of rainy season at the end of the year.

Husbandry: E. malaccense is a pioneer species with a fast growth, which makes it possible to compete with other species. To ensure better competition, closed planting such as 3 x 3 m is suitable eliminating weed problem but also enhancing self-pruning. It regenerates rapidly, is able to self prune and is suitable for coppicing. A mean annual increment of 2.5 cm y-1 in dbh can be attained at age of 13. First thinning of the crop can be carried out about 5 years after planting and the second thinning at 13 to 15 years. The estimated rotation age of is between 18 to 25 years.

The fruit is collected approximately 2-3 months after flowering, once the fruit has turned slightly yellow. In a heavy fruiting season, a 13-year-old tree can produce 2-3 kg of fruits, or 9000-15,000 fresh seeds. Once clean and dry, the seeds may be cold-stored for up to six months. Seed storage behaviour is intermediate. There are about 40,000 seeds per kilogram.

It occurs in the lowland to lower montane forest, especially in secondary growth, along streams and on hills and slopes together with Balakata baccata (Roxb.) Esser. It is an opportunist species. Its occurrence characterizes former shifting cultivation activities in the Malaysia.

E. malaccense can be propagated through direct seeding, cuttings and stumping. It has a low germination rate, due to a high incidence of insect predation of the seeds. E. malaccense seedlings are usually potted 3 months after sowing, and are transplanted in the field approximately 9-12 months after potting.

Wildings are a useful immediate source of planting material for this species. Approximately 2 months after the fruiting season, the ground beneath the mother tree is cleared to enable germination of fallen seeds. The wildings are collected 1-2 months later, and seedlings with 2-4 leaves are suitable for transplanting. During collection, the wildings must be wrapped with moist tissue paper to prevent them from wilting, and may be kept for a maximum of 3 days before replanting in the rooting bed. Wildings are left in the rooting bed for at least 2 weeks before potting, once potted they are kept in the nursery for another 6-9 months before planting out.

Larger wildings can be collected using the stumping method. The stem and root are cut at approximately 5-7 cm above and below the collar region, to produce stumps of 10-14 cm in length. All lateral roots are also severed. Stumps can be kept for 1-2 days under moist conditions before planting in polybags or directly in the ground. For mass production of planting material, cutting can be produced from coppices and young seedlings achieving a good rooting percentage of 80 to 100%.

Sesendok is used in reforestation or may be used in enrichment planting.

Timber:  E. malaccense is a light hardwood timber with an average density of about 400 kg per cubic m at 15% moisture content. The wood is bright yellow and is difficult to differentiate between the sapwood and the heartwood. It is suitable for a wide range of general utility purposes such as for making matchboxes, match splints, drawing boards, black boards and toys. It is a favourite timbers for making clogs, pattern making, trays, furniture parts, plywood chests, low grade coffins, disposable chop-sticks and other small articles. 

Shade or shelter: Sesendok is as a shade tree.

Medicine: The bark is used to treat dropsy and the roots help to heal injuries.

Intercropping: The species is used in agroforestry, such as interplanting with rubber in an alley cropping system. After 25 years, both the rubber and E. diadenum are harvested together. E. diadenum may also be interplanted with short term crops, only for the first three years before the canopy closes above.