Sentul : A nearly forgotten but nutritious fruit

Sentul or kecapi is a forest tree that is categorized as a rare fruit tree in Malaysia. It can hardly be found and many of the younger generation today could not recognize this tree. Sentul or scientifically known as Sandoricum koetjape belongs to the Meliaceae family, like rambai, langsat and sentang. This medium sized tree can grow up to 30 m with diameter up to 90 cm. The natural distribution of sentul is in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia.

Sentul thrives well in areas with irregular rainfall. As a weather-resistant tree, it can grow in prolonged hot climates. Sentul fruit is tasty to eat. The fruit is ball-shaped, 5-7 cm in diameter. The fruit skin is quite thick, tough and golden yellow with soft hair. The sentul flesh is in segments, soft and white, almost like the mangosteen fruit. The fruit does not separate easily from the seed and the taste is sourish sweet. Besides eaten fresh, sentul fruit can be made into chutneys and pickles. The fruit skin can be eaten raw or cooked in spicy coconut milk and made into side dishes in rice meals.

Sentul tree has many medicinal properties. Sentul fruit contains vitamins B, C, potassium and phosphorus. The roots may be boiled and the water drunk to relieve diarrhea, intestinal infections, cramps, colic and stomach ache. The root and bark are also used in the treatment of mothers after childbirth. Sentul leaves are pasted on the skin to stimulate sweating and to treat itching of the skin. Leaves are also boiled and used for bathing to relieve fever. Powder made from the bark can be used to treat ringworm. Sentul wood is also used in carpentry, for light construction and for making household items. At FRIM, this almost forgotten tree can be found in the Fruit Tree Arboretum.

Pictures by Naimah Che Long

Ready to be eaten fresh or made into chutneys or pickles

Ready to be eaten fresh or made into chutneys or pickles

The almost forgotten sentul fruits

The almost forgotten sentul fruits

Ripe sentul fruits on branches

Ripe sentul fruits on branches

Sentul tree is fruiting at FRIM’s Fruit Tree Arboretum

Sentul tree is fruiting at FRIM’s Fruit Tree Arboretum


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Last Updated : October 12, 2023