Where seen? This rare mangrove tree can be seen in a few
of our accessible mangroves. It can be seen on Pulau Ubin and Chek
Jawa, as well as at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Kranji Nature Trail
and is also planted at Pasir Ris Park. According to Ng, in Singapore
only a few trees at the hot springs (Kampong Unum) of Pulau Tekong.
Trees at Kampong Melayu (Pulau Ubin) and Kampong Mandai Kechil have
died or been destroyed with development. It is found on the landward-side
of mangroves. But in the past, it was considered widespread in our
back mangroves and tidal creeks in Singapore.
Features: Small tree up to 5m,
occasionally to 20m tall. Pneumatophores conical short (20cm).
Leaves fat ovals (5-7cm) usually not narrow at the base, thick and
Flowers large (10cm diameter) with no petals, only many long white
stamens forming a powder-puff shape. Stiff cup-shaped calyx with sepals
broadly triangular and reddish on the inside. The flowers open at
dusk releasing a small of sour milk, and last only for one night.
These attract bats and honeybirds.
Fruit globular (7.5cm) leathery with calyx lobes that clasp the fruit
and do not bend away as in other Sonneratia species. When ripe,
the fruit falls and smashes open releasing the seeds.
Similar to Perepat (S. alba) except
that it tends to be a shorter tree with shiny, dark green leaves and
the flowers have no petals.
Gedabu is the preferred local food plant for caterpillars of the moths
Eucosma, Taurometopa pyrometalla and Zeuzera conferta.
uses: According to Ng, the fruit is eaten. As a result,
the tree is often cultivated in Malay villages.
Status and threats: It is listed
as 'Critically Endangered' on the Red List of threatened plants of
Trail, Jan 11
glossy, not narrow at the base.
Pulau Ubin, Apr 09
Calyx sepals pinkish inside.
Mandai, Mar 11
No petals, only fluffy white stamens.
Pasir Ris, May 11
Chek Jawa, Jan 11
Pasir Ris, Mar 11
Ripe fruit falls
and splits open releasing seeds.
Kranji Nature Trail, Jun 11
lobes clasp the fruit.
Pulau Ubin, Apr 09
on Singapore shores
- Hsuan Keng,
S.C. Chin and H. T. W. Tan. 1990, The
Concise Flora of Singapore: Gymnosperms and Dicotyledons.
Singapore University Press. 222 pp.
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.
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.