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Barringtonia calyptrata


Barringtonia calyptrata (Miers) R. Br. ex Bailey

Family Name: Lecythidaceae
Common Name: Corned Beef Wood, Mango Pine, Cassowary Pine, Tufan

Barringtonia calyptrata produces wood that smell like corned-beef, giving it the common name Corned Beef Wood. Flower stalks hang pendulously on the tree branches and are densely covered with up to 60 white flowers each.


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

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants)
Plant Growth Form Tree
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 20 m


Native Distribution From Indonesia, New Guinea to Northern Australia
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Non-native

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a tree, up to 20 m tall. Growth is episodic and characterised by a series of scale-like leaves (cataphylls), which is triangular, 2 – 5 mm long and 2 mm wide.
Foliage Leaves are leathery, obovate to oblong (10 – 29 cm long and 4 – 13 cm wide) and tend to cluster at the tip of the branches. The leaf tip is obtuse or rarely has a long tip, while the leaf base is cuneate and decurrent almost to the petiole base. The leaf margin is entire. 8 – 20 pairs of lateral veins are present and intercostal veins are slightly raised on both surfaces. The petiole is 0.5 – 3 cm long and slightly swollen at the base.
Flowers Inflorescence hangs pendulously on the branches (ramiflorous), about 30 – 40 cm long. Each flowering stalk is densely covered with up to 60 flowers. The flower is sessile with grooved grey-green hypanthium (3 – 4 mm long and 3 – 4 mm wide). Flower comprises of 4 – 5 small red or white petals (1.25 – 2.5 cm long and 0.5 – 1.75 cm wide), and numerous white stamens arranged in whorls of 4 – 5 (-7). Style is 3 – 4.5 cm long, white, and persists in fruit.
Fruit Fruit is ovoid or spindle-shaped (5 – 9.5 cm long, 1.75 – 2.5 cm wide) that tapers at both ends. Each fruit contains one subglobular seed within, that is about 2 cm long and 1.5 cm wide.
Habitat It is found in open savannah, along streams and rivers, and rarely in mangrove forest.
Associated Fauna In Northern Australia, Cassowaries are observed to disperse the seeds.
Etymology The genus Barringtonia commemorates Daines Barrington (1727 – 1800), a British naturalist. Specific epithet calyptrate means hooded or covered, referring to the flower buds.
Ethnobotanical Uses Timber & Products: The wood is soft and said to smell like corned-beef. The wood has an even grain pattern and is used for general purpose such as flooring.
Others: In New Guinea, boiled leaves are used by indigenous people to treat chest pain.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate


Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.0 (Tree - Intermediate Canopy)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) White


References Prance, G.T.  (2012). A Revision of Barringtonia (Lecythidaceae). Allertonia 12: 1–161.

Prance, G.T. & Kartawinata, E.K. (2013). Lecythidaceae. In: Nooteboom, H.P. & van Welzen, P.C. (ed.) Flora Malesiana, ser. 1, vol. 21, pp. 1–118. Leiden: Naturalis Biodiversity Center.

Image Repository



Master ID 1452
Species ID 2745
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: 21 December 2021.