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Arfeuillea arborescens

Botanical Name: Arfeuillea arborescens

Commom Name: Hop tree

Family: sapindaceae

Origin: native to Indochia including Cambodia and Thailand

Botanical description

Form

A small to medium-sized tree growing up to 10 – 12m in height, Hop Tree has a round compact bushy light crown.

Leaves

The leaves are compound, pinnate with 3 – 4pairs of leaflets. The leaflets are oval or elliptic in shape and slightly asymmetric and they vary in size from 1.5cm to 5cm in length with the smaller ones near the base of the leaf and the large ones at the tip. The edges of the leaflets can either be smooth or slightly jagged.

Flowers

The small inconspicuous star-shaped flowers are about 1cm in size and occur in bunches 15 – 25cm long. The petals are white and very small, the sepals are slightly larger and are purplish-brown: the anthers are orange in colour.

Fruits

The fruits are approximately 2 – 3cm in size, and are dry papery bladder-like structures with three wings. Unripe fruits are yellowish-green in colour. However when ripe, they turn brown and split open into three parts to reveal the round hard black seeds.

Trunk

The trunk is short with a smooth light-coloured greyish bark.

Points of interest

Habit

The Hop Tree is quite hardy fast growing. It is semi-deciduous and it sheds off its crown of leaves periodically about twice a year, especially after a hot dry spell. This regular leaf shed can be bothersome for residents who may need to frequently sweep up the fallen leaves. Some trees also have the tendency to send off straggly branches, which can make the crown untidy and lose its rounded shape.

Uses

This shady tree has a broad compact crown and is ideal as a small roadside tree. It is also suitable for parks and open spaces.

Location

Hop Tree can be found along minor roads such as Madalay Rd and St.George’s Rd, and also along larger roads such as Choa Chu Kang Loop, and Compassvale Lane and Compassvale Walk in Seng Kang New Town.

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