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18th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Natural World
Melembu (Pterocymbium tinctorium)

This is a large tree growing up to 50 m tall, often with a silvery smooth bark with warty projections. The distinctive shape of the fruit gives the genus its name, Pterocymbium (Greek for ‘winged boot’). The wing of the fruit is red on the outside and green-golden on the inside when fresh, becoming brown then black and papery when dry and ready for the seeds to be released for wind dispersal. The single-seeded fruits usually hang in clumps of five. The bark is a source of fibre for rope making. It is also used in dyeing cloth; the specific epithet, tinctorium, reflects this.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 02.2020
Date Uploaded: 08.2020
Photo Location: Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Copyright: © Levon Biss