Pangium edule Reinw. (Achariaceae)
by Mrs. Norzielawati Salleh
© Norzielawati, S.

The phrase mabuk kepayang is very famous among the Malay community that associated with losing one's memory or forgetting oneself due to falling in love (Kamus Dewan Edisi Keempat). In Malay poetry, the fruit of kepayang is being relate as such “Sayang-sayang buah kepayang, Dimakan mabuk dibuang sayang; Tuan laksana kayu gerenang, Di sini tempat bergurau sayang” (Kamus istimewa peribahasa Melayu). The word kepayang refers to the fruit of the kepayang tree, Pangium edule. Kepayang fruit can be eaten but must be processed properly to remove the poison in the seeds. The leaves are used to wrap meat for longer storage and cooked as vegetable. Besides, the leaves are used to treat itchy skin by taking the leaves in the morning with dew, rub them with a bit of salt and lime juice before applying to the skin. The seeds can be used to treat boils by crushing and applying them (Abd. Latif et al., 2014).

The tree is under the Achariaceae (formerly: Flacourtiaceae) family along with other genus such as Hydnocarpus. The Latin name, edule means edible, which refers to its fruits. Pangium edule has a distribution in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea. This tree is also known as keluak in Malay language and kapecong, pacung, pucung, or simaung in Indonesia. In Peninsular Malaysia, kepayang trees can be found in the northern and eastern states especially in Pahang, Terengganu and Selangor.

Pangium edule is a small to moderately large tree, growing up to 26 m tall. The green leaves are clustered or spirally arranged at the apex of branches or twigs with a long petiole. It is large in that the young leaves are heart-shaped while the mature leaves are oval-shaped (Abd. Latif et al., 2016). The flowers are unisexual with male and female reproductive organs in separate flowers. Female flowers are solitary and bigger than male flowers. The fruit is big, 15-30 cm long, brown and rough skin. It has yellow flesh with several (6-8 seeds) grayish-white seeds, triangular in shape, hard and rough.

The name of the tree is synonym with several places in Peninsular Malaysia such as Kampung Kepayang, Ipoh, Perak; Kampung Teluk Kepayang, Bota, Perak; and Kampung Guar Kepayang, Seberang Perai Utara, Pulau Pinang (Abd. Latif et al., 2016).


  1. Abd. Latif, M., Ahmad Zuhaidi, Y., Zawiah, N., Nik Zanariah, N.M. & Othaman, H. (2016). Sinonim Nama Tempat Dengan Nama Tumbuhan.Sinonim Nama Tempat Dengan Nama Tumbuhan. Institut Penyelidikan Perhutanan Malaysia & Kementerian Sumber Asli & Alam Sekitar, Putrajaya. pp. 144-145.
  2. Abd. Latif, M., Nik Zanariah, N.M., Zawiah, N. & Othaman, H. (2014). Kenali 114 Spesies Buah-buahan Liar. Institut Penyelidikan Perhutanan Malaysia & Kementerian Sumber Asli & Alam Sekitar, Malaysia. pp. 204-205.
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