29 May 2009

Bruguiera hainesii and other surprises

Today I saw a gorgeous tall Bruguiera hainesii tree for the first time!
It was really tall, probably about 10m!

And it was flowering!
Although it was hard to get photos of the flowers as the tree was so tall.
The calyx is larger than those of Bruguiera cylindrica but smaller than those of Bruguiera gymnorrhiza. They are greenish with 10 lobes.

Fortunately, there were lots of fallen calyx on the ground. As well as a propagule!
The calyx lobes stand away from the popagule and doesn't clasp the propagule like in Bruguiera gymnorrhiza.

Although the tree is said to have large, corky, yellowish-brown lenticels, I didn't see any on this tree. Instead, the bark appears to have some light fissures.
The tree had buttress and knee roots. When buried, the knees look like bumps. Oops, I hope I wasn't photographing the wrong tree trunk!

Bruguiera hainesii is listed as 'Critically Endangered' on our Red List. I know there is effort to propagate and replant this beautiful mangrove tree. And I've seen a few small trees in Sungei Buloh. But it sure is wonderful to see a tall naturally growing tree!

Another special plant encountered was a small Kandelia candel bush! Also my first time seeing it.
It only had two branches with leaves!
But there was one branch that was flowering! This plant is not considered common anywhere. It occupies a narrow niche, typically in back mangroves or banks of tidal rivers. It is listed as 'Critically Endangered' on our Red List.

On the way back, I dropped by a part of Pasir Ris Park that I've not visited and was delighted to see replanting of some plants listed as 'Critically Endangered' on our Red List.

In a little pond in the middle of a manicured park were a whole bunch of what seems to be Sonneratia caseolaris!
These trees are very rare in the wild. It will be a magnificent sight to see these trees when they are fully grown!
Here's a closer look at the leaves of the trees.

Another 'Critically Endangered' seashore tree is Penaga laut (Callophyllum inophyllum).
There were a few young trees in the park, and one was already flowering.

Further in the boardwalk, I came across what seems to be the less commonly seen Xylocarpus mollucensis.
It has fissured rather than peeling bark, more pointed leaves and the fruits are smaller. It is listed as 'Endangered' on our Red List.

There was also this tree that seemed to have been planted next to the boardwalk within the tidal range.
It has pointed pneumatophores, rather thick small leaves and an odd shaped fruit. I have no idea what it might be!

There's so much more to discover about our mangroves!

  • 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.
  • Tomlinson, P. B., 1986. The Botany of Mangroves Cambridge University Press. USA. 419 pp.
  • Giesen, Wim and Stephan Wulffraat, Max Zieren and Liesbeth Scholten. 2006. Mangrove Guidebook for Southeast Asia (PDF online downloadable). RAP publication 2006/07 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific Bangkok.


  1. Hi Ria,
    Well done! Unknown tree is Sonneratia ovata.


  2. Thanks Dr John! Ah, so those are flower buds not fruits! Great to know S. ovata is being planted at Pasir Ris. This sure is going to be a fantastic boardwalk once these special trees grow up!



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