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  Barringtonia asiatica (L.) Kurtz
  Family Name : Lecythidaceae

  Synonyms : Barringtonia speciosa, Barringtonia asiatica, Barringtonia speciosa

  Common Names : Fish Poison Tree, Fish-killer Tree, Beach Barringtonia, Putat Gajah, Mindilla, Sea Putat, Barringtonia, Butun, Butong, Pertun, Putat Laut

  Chinese Name : 棋盘脚树, 滨玉蕊

Fish Poison Tree,Fish-killer Tree,Beach Barringtonia,Putat Gajah,Mindilla,Sea Putat,Barringtonia,Butun,Butong,Pertun,Putat Laut
  • Record Info
    • Featured in '1001 Garden Plants in Singapore' Book (2ed) :
  • Life Stage & Characteristics
    • Plant Division :
      Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
      Plant Growth Form :
      Tree (Medium (16m-30m))
      Lifespan (in Singapore) :
      Mode of Nutrition :
      Plant Shape :
      Maximum Height :
      15 m to 30 m
  • Biogeography
    • Native Distribution :
      Tropical Africa, Madagascar, India, Indochina, Taiwan, Malesia, northern Australia, Pacific
      Native Habitat :
      Terrestrial (Coastal Forest)
      Preferred Climate Zone :
      Local Conservation Status :
      Native to Singapore (Critically Endangered (CR))
  • Description & Ethnobotany
    • Plant Morphology :
      Growth Form: It is a tree up to 30 m tall, with a round crown of shiny, large, dark green leaves.
      Trunk: The unbuttressed trunk has pinkish-grey bark.
      Foliage: Its spirally arranged, stalkless leaves possess leathery leaf blades that are shiny dark green, drop-shaped, and 15–52 by 7–21 cm. Its fresh leaves are pinkish-olive with distinct pink veins, and wither yellow to pale orange.
      Flowers: Its flowering shoots are up to 31 cm long, found at the ends of branches, and more or less upright, unlike the hanging ones typical of other Barringtonia species. Its stalked flowers are bisexual, 15-cm wide, and appear fluffy because of the presence of numerous, white, pink-tipped stamens. Its strongly fragrant flowers also open around sunset in ones or two, in readiness for the nocturnal animal pollinators.
      Fruits: Its 1–2-seeded fruits are 7–10 cm wide, with a broad square base tapering to two rounded sepals. The fruits mature from green to brown. They hang from branches, and have a tough, corky-fibrous husk that aids in their dispersal by water. Its seeds are oblong, and 4–5 cm long.
      Habitat :
      It grows along sandy coasts and seashores. It occurs locally in Labrador Park.
      Associated Fauna :
      It is the food plant for moth larvae of Dasychira spp. and Thyas honesta. Fruit bats and night-flying moths are attracted to its flowers and act as pollinators.
      Cultivation :
      It can be propagated by seed.
      Etymology :
      Latin Barringtonia, after Hon. Daines Barrington (1727–1800), English naturalist; Latin asiatica, asian; referring to the natural distribution of the plant.
      Ethnobotanical Uses :
      Edible Plant Parts (Edible Fruits)
      Food (Fruit & Vegetable: The cooked fruits (to remove the saponins) are edible.; Herb & Spice)
      Edible Plant Parts (Edible Fruits), Medicinal (Backaches and sore joints can be treated using the bark, leaves, and fruits. Rheumatism can be treated using the fresh leaves, while their juices are used to treat diarrhoea. Intestinal worms can also be expelled by ingesting the seeds.), Timber & Products (The wood is used to construct boats and huts. ), Cultural / Religious (

      Heritage Tree:

      There is currently one individual of Barringtonia asiatica listed as Heritage Tree in Singapore. It can be found at Singapore Botanic Gardens. To find out more about this tree, please visit the Heritage Tree Register.

      [Others]: Oil extracts from the seeds are used as an illuminant. The fruits and seeds are used as fish poisons as they contain toxic saponins.
  • Landscaping Features
    • Desirable Plant Features :
      Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Foliage, Fragrant (Flowers: Day, Night, Dawn / Dusk)
      Plant & Rootzone Preference/Tolerance :
      Waterlogged Soils (Drains Site), Saline Soils / Salt Spray
      Landscape Uses :
      Parks & Gardens, Coastal, Shade Providing Tree / Palm
      Thematic Landscaping :
      Naturalistic Garden, Economic Garden
      Usage Hazards / Cons :
      [Remarks] (Fruits may cause injury or damage when they drop. Do not plant tree at car parks and areas with pedestrain traffic.)
  • Fauna, Pollination & Dispersal
    • Pollination Method(s) :
      Biotic (Fauna) (Insects (Butterfly, Moth); Vertebrates (Bat))
      Seed / Spore Dispersal :
      Abiotic (Water)
  • Plant Care & Propagation
    • Light Preference :
      Full Sun
      Water Preference :
      Moderate Water
      Plant Growth Rate :
      Maintenance Requirements :
      Propagation Method :
      Seed, Stem Cutting
  • Foliar
    • Foliage Retention :
      Mature Foliage Colour(s) :
      Mature Foliage Texture(s) :
      Smooth, Glossy / Shiny, Leathery, Thick
      Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) :
      Foliar Type :
      Simple / Unifoliate
      Foliar Arrangement Along Stem :
      Rosulate / Rosette
      Foliar Shape(s) :
      Non-Palm Foliage (Obovate)
      Foliar Venation :
      Pinnate / Net
      Foliar Margin :
      Foliar Apex / Tip :
      Acute, Obtuse
      Typical Foliar Area :
      Mesophyll ( 45cm2 - 182.25 cm2 )
      Leaf Area Index (LAI) * for Green Plot Ratio :
      3.0 (Tree - Intermediate Canopy)
  • Non-Foliar & Storage
    • Trunk Type (Non-Palm) :
      Bark Colour(s) :
      Pinkish grey
      Mature Bark Texture :
      Stem Type & Modification :
      Root Type :
      Underground (Tap Root; Fibrous Root)
  • Floral (Angiosperm)
    • Flower & Plant Sexuality :
      Bisexual Flowers
      Flower Colour(s) :
      Pink, White
      Flower Size :
      Remarks (15cm across)
      Flowering Opening Time :
      Night (dusk to dawn)
      Flower Lifespan On Plant :
      1 Night
      Flowering Habit :
  • Fruit, Seed & Spore
    • Mature Fruit Colour(s) [Angiosperms & Gymnosperms] :
      Fruit Classification :
      Simple Fruit
The information given on this website has been compiled from reference works on medicinal plants and/or pron only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Reliance on this information is strictly at your own risk. You should always consult your physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.

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