September 11, 2009

Visiting My Neighbour's Sentul Trees

What a nice activity for today - visiting a neighbour and spending some time chatting with him and his Iban born wife.

Kampung Luak which is quite near Miri's Tanjong Lobang is a really old kampung with lots of interesting wooden houses built probably after the Second World War. And then it could be one of the oldest Malay kampongs in Northern Sarawak!! The newer houses are modern and have been built recently thus expanding the kampung beyond its old boundaries. The newer roads have fancy botanical names like Navia 1 or Cattalya

 The older roads are just called Kampong Luak 1 or Kampong Luak 2.

Most of the elderly villagers have been fishermen in their younger days although many of them (second generation) are civil servants or business people. There are still hundreds of houses in the kampung. It is therefore not a surprise when you see some of the old type or old fashion  fruit trees still standing tall.

One of the kampong trees which caught my attention recently is the Sentul tree that is fruiting gloriously. The golden fruits which look like apples have been beckoning to me for days. Unknown to me Pak Cik has a smaller one behind his house. The bigger tree is at least 150 feet tall. He said that the tree is older than him. He is about 70 years old and is the owner of a fairly large and enviable tract of kampong land. His daughter lives next door in her own house although she is having one new concrete house built in the new settlement area in Lambir where many of the other villagers have moved to.

Sentul is Sandoricum koetjape or wild mangosteen.

According to Pak Cik the fruit is not sold at all in the Miri market and he was surprised I wanted to buy some from him. I told him that I was interested in frying the rind with sambal and make it into an interesting dish. He was surprised that the fruit could be cooked!

The fruit has a thick but soft rind. It is edible and contains a milky juice. The pulp may be sweet or sour and contains inedible brown seeds. The leaves are similar to rambutan leaves ie ribbed leaves. Sentul has pink or yellow-green flowers about 1 centimeter long.

The ripe fruits are harvested by climbing the tree and plucking by hand. Pak Cik used a long stick with a blade at the end to cut . Pak Cik's trees have thousands of fruits as I could not really finish counting them....According to him not many have come around to ask about the fruit and most of the time the fruits just drop on the ground.

The Philipinos cook and candie the fruit or make it into marmalade.

The wood of the tree is useful for construction, being plentiful and usually easy to work and polish. It makes a good shade tree. The leaves and bark have been used medicinally as a poultice. Several parts of the plant may have anti-inflammatory effects, and some chemical extracts from sentul stems have shown anti-cancer properties in vitro. Extracts from sentul seeds have insecticidal properties.(Wikipedia)

My friend Prof Dato Haji( who studied in Tanjong Lobang School in the 1960's ) said that Sentul in West Malaysia is named after this fruit.

By the way Tanjong Lobang School now called Kolej TDTH Bujang is just down the road from this kampong. And a former teacher the late Mr. James Foh's house is at the periphery of this kampong.

Sources :

a) Wikipedia
b) Prof. Emeritus Dato Haji Mohammad
c) my own Luak Bay photos and info from Pak Cik


fufu said...

wild mangosteen huuh??? i have never seen it ... thanks for sharing... sad as i couldnt go to sarawak before i leave malaysia >.<

Sarawakiana@2 said...

So sad to hear this too....I read you will be going away for a long long time!!
Must be something good coming up for you young man....
Sarawak can wait...
Hope one day to meet up with you too...
Development is taking place fast I hope the wild mangosteen tree will be there for a long long the way there are lots in the Philippines where you can order a santol-ade...which has very good anti-cancer properties (so they say).

Do visit my blog once in a while.

All the best.

Frank Juhas said...

Another interesting posting from you.
However, Sentul is NOT a wild mangosteen.
There are two kinds I'm familiar with that is: Buah Kelampu bukit (Iban),Sentul (Malay) (Sandoricum koetjape (Burm.f.)Merr.) and
Buah Kelampu ai (Iban)Sentul hutan (Malay)
(Sandoricum borneense Miq.)
Many species of Garcinia are indeed yellow, and the segmentation of the pulp is similar, but they belong to different families.


mangopulp051 said...

Mysore Fruit Products Ltd. (MFPL) is manufacturers & exporters of a various fruits products like Mango pulp, Banana pulp and Guava pulp in India.for more details visit

Anonymous said...

I have evaluated these fruits in detail and it seems that there are 4 species, and a possible new one to science. Best bart Colcomb, world fruit study institute at

Anonymous said...

i dont think so that it has a insecticidal properties..


Anonymous said...

according to our researches SANDORICUM INDICUM or also known as SANTOL has its insecticidal properties because the extract from the seed has the ability to lessen the population of any insects such as Mosquitoes and flies and it is proven because we already tried it...... but its up to you if you really believe.. ^_^

Sibu Tales : Making Bah Gui from Scratch

The pioneering families of Sibu Foochows continued to practise the  adoption of girls from poor families who become their maids (slaves). ...