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Ceriops sp.

Family Rhizophoraceae

updated Jan 2013
Where seen? Usually neat and tidy trees or bushes. Sometimes seen in our mangroves.

Features: A short tree sometimes just a bush, older plants may have well developed knee roots. The leaves are thick and spatula-shaped so they are sometimes mistaken for Teruntum (Lumnitzera sp.). Tengar (Ceriops sp.) have a flattened knife-like stipule (leaf bud at the tip of a branch). For young plants, it is difficult to be sure whether they are Tengar putih or Tengar merah without the flowers and propagules. To distinguish from Pisang-pisang (Kandelia candel), Tengar leaf stalks usually not pinkish.

Human uses: Tengar (Ceriops tagal) is valued as timber, firewood and a source of dyes. It is also used in traditional medicine.

Status and threats: Tengar putih (Ceriops tagal) is listed as 'Vulnerable' and Tengar merah (Ceriops zippeliana) as 'Endangered' on the Red List of threatened plants of Singapore.

Pulau Semakau, Jan 09

Tengar species have
a flattened knife-like stipule.

Tengar species have
a flattened knife-like stipule.

Tengar putih
Ceriops tagal

Leaves spatula-shaped.

Flowers small, many on one stalk.

Brown 'fruit' is smooth.
White collar on 'ripe' propagule.

Tengar merah
Ceriops zippeliana

Leaves oval.

Flowers small, a few on one stalk.

Brown 'fruit' has textured surface.
Red collar on 'ripe' propagule.



  • 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.
  • Wee Y.C. and Peter K. L. Ng. 1994. A First Look at Biodiversity in Singapore. National Council on the Environment. 163pp.
  • 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. Publication Unit, Ministry of Agriculture, Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. Volume 1: 1-1240; volume 2: 1241-2444.
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