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Guettarda speciosa L.

Family Name: Rubiaceae
Common Name: Sea Randa, Selar Makan, Baru-Baru Laut, Bebaru Laut, Beach Gardenia, Zebra Wood, Ketapang Pasir, 海岸桐, 榄仁舅
Full Sun Moderate Water Native to Singapore Coastal Plant Suitable for Roadsides Fragrant Plant Ornamental Flowers Drought Tolerant Tree


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Tree (Medium (16m-30m), Shrubby (1m-5m), Small (6m-15m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Rounded
Maximum Height 3 m to 22 m


Native Distribution East Africa, tropical Asia (including Singapore), and Polynesia
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Coastal Forest), Shoreline (Sandy Beach, Rocky Beach)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Endangered (EN))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a tree up to 22 m tall.
Crown Crown rounded and sprawling.
Foliage Its opposite, stalked leaves have leaf blades that are somewhat drop-shaped, with a small tip, yellowish-green, hairless to covered with hair below, and 10–25 by 7.6–18 cm.
Flowers Its flowers are white, 1.1–3.2 cm wide, with yellowish tubes that are 3.8–5 cm long, fragrant, and found in 3.8–11 cm long flowering clusters. Its flowers open about an hour after sunset and the whorl of petals drop off the next morning.
Fruits Its fruits are faintly and closely ribbed, green then whitish or pinkish, and 2.2–3.2 cm across.
Habitat It grows on sandy and rocky shores. It occurs locally in Pulau Semakau, Pulau Ubin, and Pulau Unum.
Associated Fauna Its flowers are pollinated by insects.
Cultivation It can be propagated by seed.
Etymology Guettarda, commemorating the 18th century French botanist, J. E. Guettard; Latin speciosa, showy.
Ethnobotanical Uses Medicinal ( The bark is used to treat chronic dysentery and can be applied to wounds when there are symptoms of inflammation, such as the collection of pus around the damaged tissue.)
Timber & Products ( The wood is used for building houses.)
Cut - Dried Flower ( Its fragrant flowers are used by girls who put them in their hair for the fragrance, string them into necklaces, and used them to prepare essential oil or perfume.)
[Others]: It is cultivated as an ornamental plant.  The bark is used to treat chronic dysentery and can be applied to wounds when there are symptoms of inflammation, such as the collection of pus around the damaged tissue. 

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is suitable for parks and roadsides as it has fragrant flowers and can tolerate hot, sunny, windy, and frequent salt spray conditions.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Fragrant (Flowers)
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Dry Soils / Drought, Well-Drained Soils, Saline Soils / Salt Spray
Landscape Uses Coastal, General, Roadside Tree / Palm, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Beachfront / Shoreline
Thematic Landscaping Fragrant / Aromatherapy Garden

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)
Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic (Water)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Propagation Method Seed


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Obovate)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.0 (Tree - Intermediate Canopy)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) White
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Symmetry Radial
Individual Flower Shape Tubular

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Green - Light Green, Brown
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Fleshy Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Non-Accessory Fruit

Image Repository



Master ID 1653
Species ID 2946
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 18 February 2022.