Where seen? This tree is sometimes seen in our mangroves,
the bright red 'flowers' providing a splash of colour to the forest.
According to Ng, it grows best on dry, well aerated soil towards the
landward side but in Singapore, also found in mud. According to Hs uan
Keng, it was common including at Jurong, Changi and Tuas. According
to Tomlinson, it is a characteristic of the middle mangrove community
and has been described as "the largest and probably the longest
lived of the mangrove community". It has the broadest range of
the genus and of all mangroves, from East Africa including Madagascar,
Sri Lanka, the Malay peninsula, Micronesia and Polynesia to Ryu Kyu
Islands and tropical Australia (Western Australia and Queensland).
It was previously known as B. conjugata and is sometimes spelt
Features: Tree to about 15m in
Singapore, elsewhere to 30m or more. Bark dark grey or brown, rough,
fissured in a regular chequered pattern with pimples (lenticels).
With buttress and knee roots.
Leaves eye-shaped (9-24cm long) leathery stiff glossy, sometimes reddish
on the underside, arranged opposite one another. Stipules often reddish.
One flower on each pendulous flower stalk, one flower per leaf angle.
The flowers are large (2cm) with cup-shaped calyx that has 12-14 lobes.
The calyx is bright red in the sun but may be pale or yellowish in
the shade. Petals thin, pale orange and tipped with tassels. According
to Tomlinson, the large flowers are pollinated by birds. The petals
of the flower form a 'pouch' that holds loose pollen and are under
tension. When probed at the base, the 'pouched' petal unzips to scatter
a cloud of pollen over the head of the visiting bird.
Propagule develops on the parent plant: not very long hypocotyl (15-25cm
long), fat and cigar-shaped, slightly angular with a blunt tip. The
tips of calyx lobes bend slightly towards the hypocotyl (not bent
towards the stalk).
According to the NParks Flora and Fauna website, the tree is the preferred
local food plant for caterpillars of the moth Olene mendosa.
uses: According to Burkill, tannin extracted from it is
used to treat fishing lines as well as a black dye. The hypocotyls
are eaten, after boiling and scraping the outer skin, "but not
when there is anything better available". The bark is used to
flavour raw fish, but "eating too much is dangerous". Leaves
are also served raw as flavouring. Medicinal uses include the bark
as an astrigent in diarrhoea and sometimes to treat malaria in Cambodia.
According to Giersen, in Indonesia, a sweet meat is made out of the
inner hypocotyl flesh plus sugar. The red timber is hard and used
for heavy duty purposes such as foundation pilings, mine timbers,
house posts. As well as furniture and cabinet work. Also as firewood
and for making charcoal.
buttess and knee roots.
Lim Chu Kang, May 11
and knee roots.
Chu Kang, Apr 09
Large flowers, each on one stalk.
Pulau Semakau, Jan 09
Opened 'pouch' petals.
not yet open.
Buloh Wetland Reserve, Mar 11
Calyx may be
Chu Kang, Apr 09
Tassels on petal tips.
Chek Jawa, May 09
Sepals bend towards the propagule.
Pasir Ris Park, Aug 09
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
- Hsuan Keng,
S.C. Chin and H. T. W. Tan. 1990, The
Concise Flora of Singapore: Gymnosperms and Dicotyledons.
Singapore University Press. 222 pp.
P. B., 1986. The
Botany of Mangroves Cambridge University Press. USA. 419 pp.
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.
I. H., 1993. A
Dictionary of the Economic Products of the Malay Peninsula.
3rd printing. Publication Unit, Ministry of Agriculture, Malaysia,
Kuala Lumpur. Volume 1: 1-1240; volume 2: 1241-2444.