Where seen? This tree is commonly seen in our mangroves.
According to Giesen, it is more tolerant of sandy and firmer substrates
than Rhizophora apiculata but is seldom found far from tidal
water. Grows best in deeply inundated areas on firm soils. According
to Hsuan Keng, the tree was recorded in all our mangroves including
Jurong, Bajau, Changi, Kranji and Pulau Brani. Another local name
for the tree was 'Belukup'. 'Kurap' is the Malay name for a scaly
skin disease in humans and may refer to the pimply texture of the
Features: Tree up to 15m tall,
but usually shorter, rarely more than 3m. Bark dark almost black,
horizontally fissured. Has aerial roots growing from the lower branches,
as well as stilt roots from the trunk.
Leaves eye-shaped (8-15cm long), shiny green, leathery, larger than
R. stylosa, with tiny evenly distributed spots on the underside.
Stipule usually pale or yellowish.
Flowers (1-2cm) 2-14 on a long branching stalk (2-4cm) drooping down
from the branch. Calyx egg-shaped white hard thick. Petals thin, delicate
with dense woolly marginal hairs. The petals fall off soon after blossoming.
Style just a tiny point and not as long as in R. stylosa.
The fruit looks like a brown, upside down pear (3-4cm) and is crowned
by short persistent sepals. The fruit large relative to the sepals,
when compared to R. stylosa. The hypocotyl cylindrical and
is more pimply, compared to that of R. stylosa and grows very
Sometimes mistaken for Bakau
pasir (R. stylosa) which has smaller leaves and shorter,
less pimply propagules. The two species can only be distinguished
with certainty by looking at the details of the flowers: R. stylosa
has a longer style.
Human uses: According to Wee,
in Chinese and Japanese herbal medicine, a decoction of the bark is
used to treat diarrhoea. The Burmese use the bark to treat blood in
the urine and the Indochinese use the roots to contain bleeding. According
to Giesen, the timber is difficult to work as it is very heavy and
very hard and tends to shrink excessively. The bark is used for tanning
and dyeing. it may be used for making fish traps. It may also be planted
to protect bunds and dykes. Seedlings that have been dried in the
shade for several days before planting avoid being eaten by crabs.
It is believed the process causes accumulations of tannin in the tissues.
Fruit on stalks.
Fruit large compared to sepals.
St. John's Island, Aug 09
Flower with short style,
more visible without petals.
Pasir Ris Park, Aug 09
Flowers on long branching stalks.
Pulau Ubin, May 09
Sungei Buloh, Feb 09
Very long hypocotyl.
Pasir Ris Park, Aug 09
Short style, more visible without petals.
Pasir Ris, Jun 09
kurap on Singapore shores
P. B., 1986. The
Botany of Mangroves
Cambridge University Press. USA. 419 pp.
- Hsuan Keng,
S.C. Chin and H. T. W. Tan. 1990, The
Concise Flora of Singapore: Gymnosperms and Dicotyledons.
Singapore University Press. 222 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
- Wee Yeow
Chin. 1992. A
Guide to Medicinal Plants. The Singapore Science Centre.