Characteristics of Mentaos Trees (Wrightia pubescens) in the Wild

Wrightia pubescens
Mentaos or Mentawas (Wrightia pubescens) is a species of tree in the family Apocynaceae. Its distribution includes Australia (Northern Territory, Queensland), southern China, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, and New Guinea. In Vietnam, this tree is called lòng mức lông, while in China it is called inverted pen (倒吊笔).

The mentaos tree has several accepted synonymous botanical names, including:

  • Wrightia calycina
  • Wrightia kwangtungensis
  • Wrightia spanogheaana

The tree is very common in tropical areas such as Indonesia, Wrightia pubescens usually grows in dry places such as abandoned gardens or forests near rivers.

Because this tree is still in the same genus as Water Jasmine (Wrightia religiosa) for this reason, the trunk of the Mentaos tree is often taken from the bottom to be connected with water jasmine twigs and produces an attractive ornamental tree and is usually planted in home gardens, complexes, and even in public parks.

 

Characteristics of Mentaos Leaf

Wrightia pubescens Leaf
Source: inaturalist.org/people/sogellizer

The leaves are simple, oval, with a pointed apex. It is about 8-12 cm long and 5-8 cm wide.

 

Characteristics of Mentaos Flower

Wrightia pubescens Flower
Source: flickr.com/Ahmad Fuad Morad

The flowers are similar to star jasmine and are white, cream, or brown.

 

Characteristics of Mentaos Fruit

Wrightia pubescens Fruit
Source: flickr.com/Alka Khare

The fruit is a pod, hanging, green when young and black when ripe.

 

Characteristics of Mentaos Tree

Wrightia pubescens Tree
Source: flickr.com/SierraSunrise

Mentaos trees can grow as shrubs or small trees up to 2-4 meters high in the wild. The bark is light gray with white spots, while the young branches are purplish with white spots.

Unlike its sister, water jasmine, the Mentaos tree produces flowers less often even in the wild. They produce only a few flowers on mature trees and none on small trees.

 
HOW TO CULTIVATE MENTAOS TREE

This tree is relatively easy to grow and can be propagated by stem cuttings or seed planting.

 

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