Where seen? This endangered tree is rarely seen in our
mangroves. According to Ng, it was only seen at Pasir Ris Park, Pulau
Tekong, Pulau Unum; individuals formerly recorded at Sungei Changi
seem to have died out. According to Davison, it is found on Pulau
Tekong, Sungei Buloh, Pasir Ris Park and the Western Catchment. It
is also found on Pulau Ubin and Chek Jawa. According to Hsuan Keng,
it was found in Jurong and Ulu Pandan.
Features: From a slender shrub
to small tree up to 5m, sometimes to 24m, in Singapore to about 15m
tall. Bark grey fissured and slightly flanged base. Knee roots may
be up to 30cm tall.
Leaves eye-shaped (7-13cm) light green with slender petioles, arranged
opposite one another. Stipules are light green.
Flowers appear in groups of 2-5 per leaf angle. The calyx is a slender
tube (1cm long) with 8 tiny short lobes. Tiny petals yellowish-green
tipped with 3 tassels.
Propagule develops on the parent plant: thin, smooth and long hypocotyl
(8-13cm long) slightly curved, and the calyx lobes clasping the propagule
(not bent towards the stalk).
According to Tomlinson, the small flowers are pollinated by day flying
insects such as butterflies. The petals of the flower hold loose pollen
and are under tension. When probed at the base, the petal unzips to
scatter a cloud of pollen over the head of the visiting insect.
According to Tomlinson, it is found in inner mangrove fringes and
river banks and has characteristics of a pioneer species. According
to Giersen, it forms single species stands in areas that are infrequently
inundated, while isolated individuals may occur along tidal waterways
and coastal fish ponds. Often found in solid stands in the interior
of mangroves on firm mud flats. The hypocotyls establish themselves
better in areas with much or moderate sunlight. It can be common in
overlogged areas or where immature mangrove vegetation is exploited.
According to Ng, it is found on the inner side of the mangrove and
noted to be a slow grower and has the shortest lifespan. It does not
appear to grow well in Singapore with only few individuals and less
than the 24 m maximum height found elsewhere.
Human uses: According to Giersen,
the heavy to very heavy timber is hard and strong, and easily worked
and finishes well. But it is perishable when exposed or in contact
with the ground, and often found in small size. It produces good charcoal,
firewood and pulp. The germinating seedling is sometimes eaten as
Status and threats: This plant
is listed as 'Endangered' on the Red List of threatened plants of
Singapore. It is threatened by habitat degradation.
Pasir Ris, Mar 11
narrow flowers, several on one stalk.
Pasir Ris Park, Apr 10
Visited by ants.
Pasir Ris, Apr 10
Tassels on petal tips.
Pasir Ris, May 11
Sepals clasp the propagule.
Pasir Ris Park, Aug 09
on Singapore shores
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.