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Phylum Cnidaria > Class Anthozoa > Subclass Zoantharia/Hexacorallia > Order Scleractinia > Family Merulinidae
Cabbage coral
Trachyphyllia geoffroyi

Family Merulinidae
updated Nov 2019
Where seen? This beautiful hard coral is rarely seen on our shores, and usually seen alone. The Cabbage coral is said to be found with other free-living corals like mushroom corals (Family Fungidae) in muddy bottoms of protected lagoons, in seagrass beds, and sandy bottoms near the base of reefs. It used to be in the Family Trachyphylliidae.

Features: The skeleton has a meandering folded form (flabello-meandroid) such that the entire coral resembles a cabbage (15-20cm). Walls are tall, thin forming deep, wide valleys. The walls have fine teeth. While young ones may be attached to a hard surface, older ones are free-living. The base may be cone-shaped to help it burrow into the ground. It is sometimes also called the Banana coral by divers because, when submerged, the tissues inflate many times the size of the skeleton, forming smooth curved shapes that is said to resemble bananas. The polyp tentacles are short and usually only expanded at night. It has many mouths, located in the valleys. It is sometimes flourescent. Colours seen include brown, green and blue.

Status and threats: The Cabbage coral is listed as globally Near Threatened by the IUCN. Like other creatures of the intertidal zone, they are affected by human activities such as reclamation and pollution. Trampling by careless visitors, and over-collection also have an impact on local populations.

Beting Bronok, Jul 05

Many mouths located in the valleys.

Cabbage corals on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores

Tanah Merah, Jun 16
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

Tanah Merah, Mar 13
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

Pulau Hantu, Jul 20
Photo shared by Juria Toramae on facebook.

Terumbu Hantu, Jun 16
Photo shared by Rene Ong on facebook.

Pulau Semakau, Jun 11
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

Pulau Semakau, May 13
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

Pulau Semakau East, Jun 20
Photo shared by Dayna Cheah on facebook.

Pulau Semakau North, Jul 20
Photo shared by Jianlin Liu on facebook.

Beting Bemban Besar, Jun 21
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.

Pulau Semakau, Dec 08

Photo shared by Marcus Ng on his flickr.

Beting Bemban Besar, Apr 10

Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his flickr.

Raffles Lighthouse, Jun 07



  • Danwei Huang, Karenne P. P. Tun, L. M Chou and Peter A. Todd. 30 Dec 2009. An inventory of zooxanthellate sclerectinian corals in Singapore including 33 new records (pdf). Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement No. 22: 69-80.
  • Veron, Jen. 2000. Corals of the World Australian Institute of Marine Science, Australia. 3 volumes.
  • Chou, L. M., 1998. A Guide to the Coral Reef Life of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre. 128 pages.
  • Erhardt, Harry and Daniel Knop. 2005. Corals: Indo-Pacific Field Guide IKAN-Unterwasserachiv, Frankfurt. 305 pp.
  • Borneman, Eric H. 2001. Aquarium Corals: Selection, Husbandry and Natural History T.F. H Publications. 464 pp
  • Wee Y.C. and Peter K. L. Ng. 1994. A First Look at Biodiversity in Singapore. National Council on the Environment. 163pp.
  • Ng, P. K. L. & Y. C. Wee, 1994. The Singapore Red Data Book: Threatened Plants and Animals of Singapore. The Nature Society (Singapore), Singapore. 343 pp.
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