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Magnolia pahangensis Noot.
by Dr. Ruth Kiew

Magnolia pahangensis Noot. (Magnoliaceae) is the rarest magnolia in Peninsular Malaysia, not only is it endemic but it is only known from the type site (Fraser’s Hill, Pahang) and Sungai Tembat, Terengganu.

It is a medium-sized tree with a columnar trunk about 30 cm diameter. Its obovate to narrowly obovate leaves are relatively small for magnolias measuring 4.5–7.5 × 1.5–3.5 cm with a petiole to 1 cm long. Its flowers are terminal on the twigs and have 12 sweetly scented tepals 18–22 mm long. The outer 4 tepals function like sepals and are green and broader (6–7 mm wide), while the inner ones are creamy white and narrower (3–4 mm wide). There are 8–12 stamens and 4–8 carpels that are joined into a fleshy syncarp. The fruit is ovoid, relatively small maturing to 18 mm long and 15 mm diameter. When ripe, the carpels fall off in irregular masses.

Magnolia pahangensis grows in lowland forest at 300 m altitude and in lower montane forest on ridges at 1100 m altitude. Its conservation status is assessed as Endangered (EN A2ac) because the forest where it grew in Terengganu has been cleared for a dam.

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