Known locally as buhu in Indonesia, Padbruggea dasyphylla is a climber of the legume (pea/bean) family that produces pink flowers and large, brownish, velvety fruit pods. This climber is native to and distributed across Borneo, Jawa, Malaya, Sumatera, Thailand and Vietnam
First described in 1855, the genus is named after Robbert Padtbrugge (1638–1703), a Dutch doctor in the East India Company and governor of a Maluku city in Indonesia. This species was previously classified in the Milletia and Callerya genera but now belongs to the genus Padbruggea after the latest taxonomic revision in 2019.
This woody climber has peeling bark and can be found growing in evergreen forest. The young leaves are reddish while the inflorescences’ buds are distinctly above the leaf stalk. The wood produces red sap.
The leaflets are densely brownish and hair with roundish to obtuse leaf apex. The inflorescence is an axillary or raminascent panicle, with each flower about 5-9 mm long. The large fruit pod is elliptical and covered with dense hair. Immature fruit pods have a deep, irregular groove in the middle.
In Singapore, this species was last collected in the 19th century before botanists rediscovered it in 2014 at Pulau Ubin, and it is now considered Critically Endangered in Singapore. In the Gardens, this species is cultivated in Indian Garden’s arch trellises. If you are heading to the conservatories, do keep a lookout for the pinkish inflorescences and seed pods of this robust climber nearby!
Written by: Arthur Voo, Senior Research Executive (Research and Horticulture)
Arthur has been working closely with plants for more than 10 years, whether in a park, nature reserve or glasshouse. These days, if he isn’t taking care of plants in the glasshouses, he likes to spend his time hiking and looking for interesting plants in the wild.