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Crinum asiaticum


Crinum asiaticum L.

Family Name: Amaryllidaceae
Synonyms: Crinum northianum Baker
Common Name: Seashore Lily, Poison Bulb, Bakung, Crinum Lily, Asiatic Poison Lily, Spider Lily, Seashore Crinum, Bawang Hutan, 文殊兰

Crinum asiaticum or Seashore Lily is a large bulbous herb, reaching up to 2 m tall. This native herb has long lance-shaped leaves with smooth to wavy leaf margins. Flowers have long sepals and petals produced in clusters of 10 - 50, often fragrant during night time. Seashore lilies are salt and heat tolerant therefore can be used along coastal areas and sites that require low maintenance.


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

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Monocotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Herbaceous Plant
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 2 m
Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width 2.5 m


Native Distribution Mascarenes to subtropical and tropical Asia (including Singapore) to the southwest Pacific.
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Coastal Forest), Shoreline
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Critically Endangered (CR))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a large, bulb-bearing herbaceous plant that grow up to 2 m tall, with a rosette of leaves at the top of its stem.
Foliage Its stalkless leaves have leaf blades that are lanceolate, light-green, 50-150 by 3-20 cm, and have prominent parallel veins, with many cross veins.
Flowers Its flowers grow in clusters of 10-50, at the top of a long stalk. Its sepals and petals are lanceolate, white, and 6-12 by 0.5-1.2 cm. Flowers are fragrant at night.
Fruit Its fleshy fruits are irregularly-rounded, 2.5-6.5 cm wide, and 1-5 seeded. Its seeds are 2-4.5 cm wide.
Habitat It grows along the borders of coastal forests, mangrove forests, sandy shores, and water edges, at low altitudes. It occurs locally at Pulau Pawai.
Associated Fauna It is the host-plant for the caterpillars of the moths, the lily borer or kew arches (Brithys crini), and the lily caterpillar moth (Spodoptera picta).
Taxonomy This species used to be known as Bulbine asiatica, but that name is now a synonym.
Cultivation It can be propagated by seed.
Etymology Greek krinon, lily, Latin, asiaticum, from Asia, referring to the geographical distribution of this species.
Ethnobotanical Uses Medicinal: The crushed leaves are used to wash piles. Mixed with honey, they are applied to wounds and abscesses. The leaves and bulbs can be used to induce vomiting, because they contain the alkaloid lycorine. The plant is used medicinally for treating breast infections and wounds, haemorrhoids and inflammation, as a diuretic, as a poultice for closed fractures, contusions, rheumatism and sprains, to aid getting rid of excess water from the body and for easing childbirth. This information is not meant to be substituted for medical advice. Readers should always consult a medical professional before any remedy programme is initiated.
Others: This species accumulates selenium, and could potentially be used to cleanse contaminated soil.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is suitable for planting along streetscapes, parks, gardens, flower beds and coastal areas for its tolerance of hot and windy conditions, and its white showy flowers.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Foliage, Fragrant (Flowers) (Night)
Landscape Uses Coastal, General, Suitable for Roadsides, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Flowerbed / Border
SGMP Treatment

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Caterpillar Moth Food Plant
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)
Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Rootzone Tolerance Drought Tolerant, Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Saline Soils / Salt Spray, Fertile Loamy Soils
Maintenance Requirements Low
Pest(s) Chewing Insects
Propagation Method Seed
Propagation Method Remarks Division of the bulbs


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green - Light Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Rosulate / Rosette
Foliar Attachment to Stem Sessile
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Lanceolate)
Foliar Venation Parallel
Foliar Margin Entire, Entire - Wavy / Undulate
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute
Foliar Base Truncate / Square
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Monocot)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) White
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal
Flower Symmetry Radial
Individual Flower Shape Tubular
Inflorescence Type Umbel
Flower Size 20 cm

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Green - Light Green
Mature Fruit Texture(s) Glossy / Shiny
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type


References Yong J, Tan PY, Nor Hafiz Hassan, Tan SN. 2010. A Selection of Plants for Greening of Waterways and Waterbodies in the Tropics. Singapore: Chung Printing . 480 pp.

Image Repository



Master ID 586
Species ID 1881
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: 15 September 2023.