The legendary Melaka tree

Legend has it that Parameswara was resting under a Melaka tree when he saw a mousedeer kick his hunting dogs. Honouring the brave mousedeer he chose to build a new settlement at the site and named the area Melaka that became a state in Malaysia. Melaka tree is also known as Indian gooseberry tree and scientifically known as Phyllanthus emblica. The fruit of the Melaka tree has a sweet and astringent taste and has been used extensively in Ayurvedic medicinal treatments. Scientific research on Melaka fruit or Indian gooseberry has found that it has antiviral and antimicrobial properties. It has also been shown that Melaka fruits has the ability to reduce blood cholesterol levels and decrease blood glucose.

In January 2012 the Melaka tree in FRIM shed its leaves to almost bare but today visitors to FRIM have the chance to see green and fruiting Melaka trees at the Fruit Tree Arboretum at the right of the guard house at FRIM’s entrance and on the slope at the right of Melaka traditional house. The trees have been fruiting since the middle of May 2012. Melaka trees have also been extensively planted by the city of its namesake, along the riverbanks of Bandar Hilir, Melaka.

Pictures by Noor Azlin Yahya and Azahari Mohd. Yusoff.

Dangling fruits ornament the Melaka tree.

FRIM's Melaka house where fruiting trees can be found nearby.

To reduce the astringent taste, Melaka fruits are pickled for food.