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mangroves > Lumnitzera in general
Teruntum putih
Lumnitzera racemosa

Family Combretaceae

updated Jan 2013
Where seen? This pretty plant with plasticky leaves and tiny white flowers is sometimes seen in our mangroves. It is found in the back mangroves, preferring sandy or hard mud areas. Also on shores and waterways with freshwater influence. It can tolerate more saline conditions than Teruntum merah (Lumnitzera littorea). There are some large old trees at Kranji Nature Trail.

Features: Shrubs or tree up to 8m tall. Bark reddish-brown and fissured. Has no pneumatophores.

Leaves spoon-shaped (2-10cm), scalloped edge and a small notch at the tip, thick and fleshy, arranged alternately in a spiral. Flowers small (1-2cm) in bunches, white with five tiny petals. The flowers are weakly scented and produce lots of nectar. According to Tomlinson, this species appear to be pollinated by day-active wasps, bees, butterflies and months.

The small fruits are ribbed, fibrous and float, and dispersed by water. Each fruit contains one seed.

Sometimes mistaken for Chengam (Scyphiphora hydrophyllacea).

According to Giesen, although occurring throughout Malaysia and Indonesia, L. littorea and L. racemosa practically exclude each other in habitat and have never been collected in exactly the same stand. The exact cause of this different ecological behaviour is not yet known.

Human uses: According to Burkill, the timber has similar properties as that of Teruntum merah (Lumnitzera littorea) but because it is a smaller plant it is less useful.

Status and threats: It is listed as 'Endangered' on the Red List of threatened plants of Singapore.

Mandai, Mar 11

Pulau Ubin, Aug 03

PulauSemakau, Dec 08

Pulau Semakau, Dec 08

White flowers, stamens same length as petals.
Pulau Ubin, Aug 03

Teruntum putih on Singapore shores

Photos of Teruntum putih 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.
  • 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.
  • Ng, Peter K. L. and Wang Luan Keng and Kelvin K. P. Lim, 2008. Private Lives: An Expose of Singapore's Mangroves. The Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research . 249 pp.
  • 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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