Bruguiera sp.

Family Rhizophoraceae

updated Jan 2013
Where seen? While Bakau putih (Bruguiera cylindrica) is one of the most commonly seen trees in our mangroves, others are less common, and some are quite rare.

Features: A tree generally with knee roots, sometimes without. Leaves eye-shaped, shiny green and stiff, lacking the tiny black spots on the underside that is typical of Rhizophora. Flowers small, usually with cup-shaped calyx. Petals thin and fringed with hairs. The stamens are enclosed in pairs in a 'pouched petal'. When triggered, the pouch explodes, dousing the pollinator with pollen. Propagule develops on the parent plant and may be long and thin or thick and short depending on the species.

Human uses: The timber and other parts of these trees have many traditional applications. See the fact sheets for the individual species for more details.

Status and threats: Lenggadai (Bruguiera parviflora) is listed as 'Endangered' and Bakau mata buaya (Bruguiera hainesii) and Tumu berau (Bruguiera sexangula) are both listed as 'Critically Endangered' in the Red List of threatened plants of Singapore.

Tumu with buttress and knee roots
St. John's Island, Aug 09

Typical pouched petals of Bruguiera.

Open and closed pouched petals.

Fallen petals.


Small flowers
several on one stalk.
Calyx usually pale.

Tassels on petal tips.

Sepals on propagules
bend towards stalk.

Bakau mata buaya
Bruguiera hainesii

Medim-sized flowers,
each on one stalk.
Calyx usually pinkish or yellowish.

Tassels on petal tips.

Sepals held away from the propagule.


Large flowers,
each on one stalk.
Calyx usually red, sometimes pale.

Tassels on petal tips.

Sepals bend towards the propagule.


Large flowers, each on one stalk.
Calyx usually yellow.

No tassels on petal tips.

Sepals extend away
from the propagule.


Long narrow flowers,
several on one stalk.
Calyx very long and narrow, pale.

Tassels on petal tips.

Sepals clasp the propagule.



  • Chiou-Rong Sheue, Jean W. H. Yong and Yuen- Po Yang. 2005. The Bruguiera (Rhizophoraceae) Species in the Mangroves of Singapore, Especially on the New Record and the Rediscovery. Taiwania, 50(4): 251-260, 2005 (pdf on the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research website).
  • Hsuan Keng, S.C. Chin and H. T. W. Tan. 1990, The Concise Flora of Singapore: Gymnosperms and Dicotyledons. Singapore University Press. 222 pp.
  • Tomlinson, P. B., 1986. The Botany of Mangroves Cambridge University Press. USA. 419 pp.
  • Davison, G.W. H. and P. K. L. Ng and Ho Hua Chew, 2008. The Singapore Red Data Book: Threatened plants and animals of Singapore. Nature Society (Singapore). 285 pp.
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