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  Cerbera manghas L.
  Family Name : Apocynaceae

  Common Names : Sea Pong Pong, Pink-eyed Cerbera, Pong-pong, Buta Buta, Nyan, Pink-eyed Pong Pong Tree, Tanghin Poison

  Chinese Name : 海杧果

Sea Pong Pong,Pink-eyed Cerbera,Pong-pong,Buta Buta,Nyan,Pink-eyed Pong Pong Tree,Tanghin Poison
  • 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); Small (6m-15m))
      Lifespan (in Singapore) :
      Mode of Nutrition :
      Plant Shape :
      Rounded, Oval
      Maximum Height :
      16 m to 20 m
  • Biogeography
    • Native Distribution :
      From Seychelle Islands to Southern China, Taiwan, Ryukyu Islands, through Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, Borneo, Java to Northern Australia and the Pacific Islands.
      Native Habitat :
      Terrestrial (Coastal Forest), Shoreline (Mangrove Forest; Sandy Beach)
      Preferred Climate Zone :
      Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
      Local Conservation Status :
      Native to Singapore (Critically Endangered (CR))
  • Description & Ethnobotany
    • Plant Morphology :
      Growth Form: It is a small evergreen tree with round to oval crown, up to 20 m tall. All parts of the plant exude white, milky latex when cut.
      Crown: Its crown is rounded or oval in shape.
      Trunk: Its bark is grey and fissured.
      Foliage: Its stalked, spirally arranged leaves are simple, elliptic to obovate in shape, 5 - 31 cm long and 1 - 7 cm wide, with a distinct drip tip.
      Flowers: Its fragrant flowers are salverform, about 6 cm wide, having 5 white lobes attached to a long tube that is 2.5 - 4.5 cm long. The lobes are perpendicular to the tube. The centre of the flower is initially orange-pink, but becomes red to purple with age. Several flowers are arranged together in terminal inflorescences known as cymes.
      Fruits: Its fruit is large and shaped like an egg or mango, about 5 - 12 cm long. It is hard, shiny and smooth, ripening to red at maturity. The outer part of the fruit is fleshy, while the inner part is fibrous. It is classified as a drupe, because it holds a hard stony pit that contains the seed.
      Habitat :
      It grows in coastal forests, and mangrove areas with freshwater input. It occurs locally at Pulau Semakau, Pulau Ubin and St. John's Island.
      Similar :
      It resembles another congeneric species, Cerbera odollam, and can be readily told apart by the yellow-centred flowers.
      Associated Fauna :
      Its flowers are pollinated by insects. It is the caterpillar host-plant of the King Crow butterfly (Euploea phaenareta castelnaui).
      Cultivation :
      It can be propagate by seed or stem cuttings. The plant should be cultivated in sandy soil with good drainage and high humus content. This species is tolerant of salt spray and saline soils.
      Etymology :
      Latin Cerbera, after Cerberus, a three-headed dog in Greek and Roman mythology that prevents spirits from escaping Hades, probably referring to the poisonous qualities of the plant. Latin manghas, derived from the Portugese word "manga" which means mango, referring to the mango-shaped fruit.
      Ethnobotanical Uses :
      Medicinal (The leaves and fruits contain cerberin, a toxic chemical that can be fatal if consumed. Some individuals in Samoa use the fruit as a laxative and a component of medicines that are applied externally. The roots and bark can also be used to make a laxative.), Timber & Products (The wood may be burned to form a high quality charcoal. It can also be used for carvings and furniture.)
      [Others]: In the past, hunters used the latex sap to poison animals. In the Philippines, the toxic seeds are used to stun fish, so they can be easily collected with a net. Oil extracted from the seeds can be used to make candles. 
  • Landscaping Features
    • Landscaping :
      It is suitable for planting along streetscapes, parks, gardens and coastal areas for its attractive, white flowers. The compact, round to oval crown provides a neat structural form for formal gardens. The plant is hardy, and is tolerant of hot and high wind environments and saline soils.
      Desirable Plant Features :
      Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Fruits, Fragrant (Flowers)
      Plant & Rootzone Preference/Tolerance :
      Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Saline Soils / Salt Spray, Fertile Loamy Soils
      Landscape Uses :
      General, Roadside Tree / Palm, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Coastal, Beachfront / Shoreline, Shade Providing Tree / Palm
  • Fauna, Pollination & Dispersal
    • Associated Fauna :
      Caterpillar Food Plant (Leaves; Associated with: Euploea phaenareta castelnaui (C & R Felder, 1865))
      Pollination Method(s) :
      Biotic (Fauna)
      Seed / Spore Dispersal :
  • Plant Care & Propagation
    • Light Preference :
      Full Sun
      Water Preference :
      Moderate Water
      Maintenance Requirements :
      Propagation Method :
      Seed, Stem Cutting
  • Foliar
    • Foliage Retention :
      Mature Foliage Colour(s) :
      Mature Foliage Texture(s) :
      Papery, Leathery
      Foliar Type :
      Simple / Unifoliate
      Foliar Arrangement Along Stem :
      Opposite, Spiral
      Foliar Attachment to Stem :
      Foliar Shape(s) :
      Non-Palm Foliage (Elliptical)
      Foliar Venation :
      Pinnate / Net
      Foliar Margin :
      Foliar Apex / Tip :
      Foliar Base :
      Typical Foliar Area :
      Macrophyll ( 182.25cm2 - 1640.25 cm2 )
      Leaf Area Index (LAI) * for Green Plot Ratio :
      4.0 (Tree - Dense Canopy)
  • Floral (Angiosperm)
    • Flower & Plant Sexuality :
      Bisexual Flowers
      Flower Colour(s) :
      Red, White
      Flower Grouping :
      Cluster / Inflorescence
      Flower Location :
      Flower Symmetry :
      Individual Flower Shape :
      Inflorescence Type :
  • Fruit, Seed & Spore
    • Mature Fruit Colour(s) [Angiosperms & Gymnosperms] :
      Mature Fruit Texture(s) :
      Glossy / Shiny
      Fruit Classification :
      Simple Fruit
      Fruit Type :
      Fleshy Fruit (Non-Accessory Fruit: Drupe)
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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