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Carallia brachiata


Carallia brachiata (Lour.) Merr.

Family Name: Rhizophoraceae
Synonyms: Carallia scortechinii, Carallia integerrima, Carallia spinulosa, Carallia lucida, Bruguiera brachiata
Common Name: Corkwood, Corky Bark, False Kelat, Maniawiga, Bongbong, Bongkok, Gandang, Ganding, Janggut Keli, Kesinga, Mesinga, Merpoi, Mersinga, Merpuing, Tengkawa, 竹节树

Carallia brachiata or Corkwood is a large tree growing as tall as 50 m but in Singapore, it usually grows to 20 m tall. The leaves are dark green coloured above, yellowish with brown spots below with toothed margins. They also bear small, white to pale greenish flowers and red round fruit. Corkwood is a suitable tree for large gardens, roadsides and parks.


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

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Tree (Big (>30m))
Plant Shape Rounded, Oval
Maximum Height 50 m


Native Distribution From Madagascar to India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, south China, Southeast Asia (including Singapore) to Australia, and Solomon Islands
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Mountain, Secondary Rainforest, Coastal Forest), Shoreline (Mangrove Forest, Sandy Beach)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Vulnerable (VU))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is usually a tree with a single trunk up to 50 m tall, but in Singapore, it is usually only about 20 m tall.
Trunk Its bark is brown, and its twigs are conspicuously swollen at the nodes.
Foliage Its opposite, stalked leaves have leathery leaf blades that are usually oval or drop-shaped, and 4–15 by 2–10 cm, with rather sharp tips. Its leaf blades are dark green above, and yellow-green with brown spots below.
Flowers Its flowering shoots are divided into two equal, or three branches, and 1–6 cm long. Its flowers are stalkless, or shortly-stalked, white or pale-greenish, 3 mm long, and develop from the angles of leaves.
Fruits Its fruits are round berries up to 7 mm wide, and ripen from pink to red. Their fleshy pulp contain many seeds.
Habitat It grows in lowland and hill forests up to 1,800 m altitude. In Singapore, it grows in the landward edge of mangrove forest, and sandy beaches.
Similar This species resembles the common kelat (Syzygium lineatum) owing to its oval or round crown.
Associated Fauna It is the preferred local food plant for caterpillars of the teak defoliator moth (Hyblaea puera), the adult of which lays its eggs singly near the veins, and on the undersides of new leaf blade. Its flowers are insect-pollinated, and its red fruits are eaten by birds too.
Cultivation It is propagated by seed or terminal branch cuttings. Seeds need to be germinated immediately as their viability decreases rapidly. In Tropical Asia, fresh seeds have a viability of 45% to almost 100% within 1–3.5 months. Seedlings should also be planted in the nursery for two years after which, they may be transplanted to semi-shaded sites as they are sensitive to drought, and shade-tolerant. It requires full sun, and is tolerant of damp ground. It is a tree suitable for large gardens, roadsides, and parks.
Etymology Caralliam, translated from karalli, an Indian name; Latin brachiata, branched at right angles or arm-like, referring to the branching of the flowering shoot.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Fruits)
Food (Fruit & Vegetable)
Medicinal ( The leaves and bark are used medicinally against itch and septic poisoning.)
Timber & Products ( The wood is used for many construction purposes such as cabinet work, interior finish, railway carriages, pallets, and packing material. The wood is also a source of good-quality firewood and charcoal.)

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is suitable for planting in parks, gardens and streetscape for its attractive form.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Form
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils
Landscape Uses Coastal, Roadside Tree / Palm, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Beachfront / Shoreline

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

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

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting (Tip)


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Leathery
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Obovate, Oval)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Dentate, Serrate / Toothed
Foliar Apex - Tip Acuminate, Acute
Foliar Base Cuneate
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.0 (Tree - Dense Canopy)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Stem Type & Modification Woody
Root Type Underground (Tap Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower & Plant Sexuality 2 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Green - Light Green, White
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary
Flower Symmetry Radial
Individual Flower Shape Stellate / Star-shaped
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

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


References Hou, D. (1955). RhizophoraceaeFlora Malesiana, ser. 1, Spermatophyta, vol. 5. Leiden: Naturalis Biodiversity Center.

Image Repository



Master ID 1488
Species ID 2781
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: 29 November 2022.