Firmiana malayana or mata lembu can be found along riverbanks and open forests in Peninsular Malaysia, from Gemas northward, and occasionally planted in populated areas. This deciduous tree can grow up to 20 meters. The bark is silvery grey while the leaves are broad and softly hairy on the undersides.Flowers of the mata lembu are vivid orange, on tassels up to 12 cm long. Firmiana malayana will shed its leaves after a dry period and remains bare for six to eight weeks.
At the same time the flowers would develop and turn into fruits in another four to five weeks before new leaves appear. Trees with attractive flowers lure birds to feed on the nectar, thus acting as pollinators. The tree, barren of leaves and full of the vivid orange flowers or the boat-shaped fruits, makes a spectacular sight. This tree can be seen in front of FRIM’s Human Resource office (Building B1). Firmiana malayana belongs to the family Malvaceae. Its conservation status has not been reviewed.