Garcinia prainiana King. (Clusiaceae)
by Mrs. Syazwani Bt. Azeman
Garcinia prainiana King. (Clusiaceae)
by Mrs. Syazwani Bt. Azeman

Known as cerapu or mencupu in Malay, Garcinia prainiana is a small tree up to 10 m tall, in the family Clusiaceae. This tree commonly grows in lowland and hill forest, on ridges, up to an altitude of 900 m above sea level. Its natural distribution is in Southern Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia. In Peninsular Malaysia, it can be found mainly in Pahang, Perak and Negeri Sembilan.

The bark is greyish brown in colour and produces a white sap when slashed. The oppositely arranged leaves are large, ovate, 15-23 cm long and 5-10 cm wide, reddish when young becoming glossy dark green when mature (Zawiah & Othaman, 2012).

Garcinia prainiana is dioecious (male and female flowers on separate trees). The sweet fragrant flowers are red to orange in colour and emerge like bunches of jewels from the green branch tips (Aman, 2006). The male and female flowers look identical in size, shape and colour, but while the female flower has no pollen, the male flower has a heavy ring of highly visible pollen encircling its center.

The fruits are round, 3-5 cm wide, shiny and green when young turning yellowish orange when fully matured. The fruits can be eaten fresh and have a pleasant sweet-sour taste (Adnan et al., 2018). In traditional Malay food, the young fruits are cooked together with dried fish in ‘gulai lemak cili api’ (Zawiah & Othaman, 2012). The fruiting season occurs once a year, from July to September.

This tree is very slow growing but long-lived and can produce fruit when only a few feet tall. The young plants are used as rootstock for the mangosteen, Garcinia mangostana. Garcinia prainiana is an excellent plant for landscaping in parks and gardens and is considered as Least Concern (LC) in the IUCN Red List version 3.1, 2011 (Nparks Flora Fauna website, 2020) because it is widely grown and does not face any threat of extinction.


  1. Adnan, M., Zainuddin, A.F., Hamzah, M.A., Moorthy, M. & Mohamad Zaki, M.I. (2018). Koleksi Pokok Taman Botani Kepong. Institut Penyelidikan Perhutanan Malaysia (FRIM), Malaysia. pp. 1-234.
  2. Aman, R. (2006). Buah-buahan nadir Semenanjung Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia, Malaysia. pp. 178.
  3. Nparks Flora Fauna website. Garcinia prainiana (January 2020). National Parks Board. Retrieved January 06, 2020, from
  4. Zawiah, N. & Othaman, H. (2012). 99 Spesies Buah di FRIM. Institut Penyelidikan Perhutanan Malaysia, Kementerian Sumber Asli dan Alam Sekitar, Malaysia. pp. 22-23 78-79, 256.
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