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Scyphiphora hydrophylacea


Scyphiphora hydrophylacea C.F. Gaertn.

Family Name: Rubiaceae
Common Name: Chengam, Chingam, Sebasah, 瓶花木


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 Shrub, Tree (Shrubby (1m-5m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Shrubby
Maximum Height 6 m


Native Distribution Coastal areas of east Madagascar , India to Australia (including the coasts of East India, Sri Lanka, Andaman Islands, South China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Borneo, New Guinea, Northeast Australia, Micronesia (Palau Islands), and Solomon Islands)
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Coastal Forest), Shoreline (Mangrove Forest, Backshore, Sandy Beach)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Endangered (EN))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a shrub or small tree up to 6 m tall, occasionally with small stilt roots, and brownish-grey bark. Its fruit is dispersed by water.
Foliage Its opposite, stalked leaves have leathery blades that are usually drop-shaped to broadly elliptic with a rounded tip, light green, hairless on both sides, 4–7 by 2–4 cm, and have 4–6 pairs of veins that may be slightly visible or indistinct.
Flowers Its flowers are pale pink to whitish-pink, 3–5 mm long, hairless outside, and arranged in 1.5–3 by 2–2.5 cm clusters.
Fruits Its fruit is ellipsoid, green at first, turning yellow then shiny brown when mature, 8–10 by 4–5 mm, fleshy, hairless, have 6–10 longitudinal ridges, and consists of 2 parts with 2 seeds each.
Habitat It grows in mangrove forests and coastal habitats. It occurs locally in Pulau Ubin (including Chek Jawa), Pulau Tekong (including Pulau Tekong Kechil and Pulau Unum), Sungei Pandan, Pulau Semakau, Pulau Pawai and other sites.
Associated Fauna It is the preferred local food plant for caterpillars of the common tit butterfly (Hypolycaena erylus) and Eporectis tephropis. Its flowers are pollinated by birds. The adults of the common tit lay its eggs singly on leaves, stem or young shoots of the plant
Cultivation It can be propagated by seed.
Etymology Greek Scyphiphora, a two-handled cup, possibly referring to the stigma shape or the oblong fruit; Latin hydrophylacea, resembling the genus Hydrophyllum
Ethnobotanical Uses Medicinal ( An extract of the leaves could be used for stomachaches.)
Timber & Products ( Its wood is hard and is used as timber for small objects.)

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is suitable for coastal areas, as well as parks, around the edges of ponds and water bodies for its attractive foliage and scented flowers.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage, Fragrant
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Moist Soils, Waterlogged Soils (Drains Site, Does not Drain Site), Well-Drained Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils
Landscape Uses Coastal, Parks & Gardens, Beachfront / Shoreline, Pond / Lake / River, Marsh / Bog

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

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

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water, Lots of Water
Propagation Method Seed


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Glossy / Shiny, Leathery
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Obovate, Elliptical)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Rounded
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Dicot)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) White
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary
Flower Symmetry Radial

Fruit, Seed and Spore

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

Image Repository



Master ID 1151
Species ID 2444
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: 30 December 2022.