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Xylocarpus sp.

Family Meliaceae

updated Jan 2013
Where seen? The handsome Mangrove cannon-ball tree (Xylocarpus granatum) is still commonly seen in our mangroves. But other Xylocarpus species are not as frequently encountered.

Features: Generally trees, the different species have tiny flowers that appear rather similar. The species are best distinguished by where they are growing, and structures of the leaves, bark, roots and fruits.

Status and threats: Xylocarpus moluccensis is listed as 'Endangered', while Xylocarpus rumphii is listed as 'Critically Endangered' on the Red List of threatened plants of Singapore.

Pulau Semakau, Jan 09

Nyireh on Singapore shores

Nyireh bunga
Xylocarpus granatum
Nyireh batu
Xylocarpus moluccensis
Nyireh laut
Xylocarpus rumphii
Found on sandy shores near mangroves as well as in the back mangroves.
Usually found on sandy shores near mangroves.
Usually found on rocky shores, under natural cliffs.
Fruit globular and large
(10-25cm in diameter)
Fruit elliptical
(8-12cm in diameter).
Fruits small.
Leaflets spoon-shaped,
with rounded tips.
Leaflets eye-shaped,
with pointed tips.
Leaflets almost heart-shaped, with prominent pale veins.
Bark smooth, flaking off in patches.
Bark with longitudinal fissures.
Bark with longitudinal fissures.
Well-developed buttresses forming narrow ribbon-like undulations extending away from the trunk.
Small or no buttress roots,
many peg-shaped pneumatophores (blunt-tipped, nearly cylindrical)
No specialised roots.
Roots usually cling to boulders
on the rocky shore.
Flowers of the Xylocarpus species appear similar



  • Hsuan Keng, S.C. Chin and H. T. W. Tan. 1990, The Concise Flora of Singapore: Gymnosperms and Dicotyledons. Singapore University Press. 222 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.
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