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coastal plants
Adinandra dumosa

updated Nov 2010
Where seen? This tree or bush with tear-drop shaped flowers is sometimes seen on our wild coastal cliffs as well as other wild places.

According to Corners the tree was "one of the commonest" in Malaya. It is found in secondary forests, often forming almost pure stands. In fact, the type of vegetation on some parts of Kent Ridge is known as 'Adinandra belukar' because this plant dominates there. According to Burkill, the name 'Tiup tiup' probably arose because the style resembles a blow pipe.

Features: Shrub to tree (2-10m). The leaves (5-10cm long) are leathery, dark green above and pale beneath. They wither dull scarlet, young leaves are reddish pink. The small flowers are cream and the petals do not open. The bit sticking out is the style. Fruits are small globular berries (about 1cm), ripening green to brownish. According to Corners, it begins to flower at a height of 2m "when it is about 2-3 years old and continues daily for some hundred years". He says it grows slowly but steadily, "even in the most improverished places".

Corners adds that it is said the flowers are pollinated by bees, but as they do not open, it is likely that they are self pollinated. The seeds are distributed by small fruit bats which carry the fruits one at a time from to the tree to their resting places where they suck out the pulp contents and disgorge the seeds.

Human uses: According to Burkill, its wood is considered of little use as it is such a small tree. But it is used as firewood.

Sentosa, Apr 09

Admiralty Park, Apr 09

Admiralty Park, Apr 09

Chek Jawa, Oct 09

Tiup-tiup on Singapore shores

Photos of Tiup-tiup for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map



  • Hsuan Keng, S.C. Chin and H. T. W. Tan. 1990, The Concise Flora of Singapore: Gymnosperms and Dicotyledons. Singapore University Press. 222 pp.
  • Corners, E. J. H., 1997. Wayside Trees of Malaya: in two volumes. Fourth edition, Malayan Nature Society, Kuala Lumpur. Volume 1: 1-476 pp, plates 1-38; volume 2: 477-861 pp., plates 139-236.
  • Burkill, I. H., 1993. A Dictionary of the Economic Products of the Malay Peninsula. 3rd printing.
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