Maingaya malayana Oliv. (Hamamelidaceae)
by Mrs. Syazwani Bt. Azeman
Maingaya malayana Oliv. (Hamamelidaceae)
by Mrs. Syazwani Bt. Azeman

The genus Maingaya is monotypic and was named after Alexander Caroll Maingay, the magistrate stationed in Melaka during the 1860s. Although his official job was to manage the prison, he had a passion for botany and made a very large number of plant collections from Peninsular Malaysia, many of which are preserved at Calcutta Botanic Garden Herbarium along with his notes and drawings (Hou, 1958).

Maingaya malayana is the sole species in the genus. It is a very rare tree, known from only a few isolated localities. It is endemic in Peninsular Malaysia and when first described, it was known from Gunung Bubu, Perak, and Penang Hill (Whitmore, 1973). However, later on, another population was found in a pristine patch of riverine forest in Negeri Sembilan.

Maingaya malayana is an evergreen tree with bisexual flowers that grows in primary forests from 300 - 1000 m altitude. It can grow to 27 m tall with a diameter of 45 - 60 cm. The leaves have small stipule that leave ring-like scars after falling. The dense, yellow flowers are produced sporadically throughout the year. The fruit is a small woody capsule, with a short stout stalk. It has two chambers and four valves. The seeds are wingless, one in each cell (Dransfield, 1993).

At the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) campus, Maingaya trees were planted along the path from the museum and in the carpark in front of the herbarium building. As a wayside tree, Maingaya malayana is a medium-sized tree which is very attractive when in bloom. A global IUCN conservation assessment for this species categorises it as Vulnerable because its distribution is very fragmented and some of its known habitats are disturbed and degraded by human activity.


  1. Dransfield, J. (1993). Maingaya malayana: Hamamelidaceae. Curtis's Botanical Magazine , Vol. 10 (2), 81-84
  2. Hou, D. (1958). Hamamelidaceae. Flora Malesiana. Series 1 - Spermatophyta , Volume 5. pp. 374-376
  3. Whitmore, T.C. (1972). Tree Flora of Malaya, Volume 2. Longman Malaysia Sdn. Bhd., Malaysia. pp. 444.
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