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Dolichandrone spathacea


Dolichandrone spathacea (L.f.) K.Schum.

Family Name: Bignoniaceae
Synonyms: Bignonia spathacea L.f., Dolichandrone rheedii (Spreng.) Seem.
Common Name: Mangrove Trumpet Tree, Tui, Tuai, Joran, 南亚猫尾木

Dolichandrone spathacea or Mangrove Trumpet Tree is a tree that grows to 25 m tall. It has compound leaves and large, white, trumpet-shaped flowers that opens at night. The flower composed of a long thin tube and spread out to 5 lobes with frilly edges. It produce bean-like fruit which spilt upon maturity, releasing buoyant, rectangular seeds with corky wings.


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 (Medium (16m-30m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Irregular
Maximum Height 25 m


Native Distribution From India through Southeast Asia to New Caledonia
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Coastal Forest), Shoreline (Mangrove Forest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Critically Endangered (CR))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a tree that can grow up to 25 m tall.
Trunk The trunk has smooth, grey to dark brown coloured bark.
Foliage Leaves are compound pinnate, often reddish when young, measuring 20 - 30 cm long, held on a reddish petiole of up to 6 cm. Leaflets are asymmetrical, broad egg-shaped to broad lance-shaped with smooth margins sometimes wavy. The terminal leaflet at the end of the leaf tends to be larger than rest of the lateral pairs. Each leaflet measures between 5.5–20 cm long by 2.5–7 cm wide.
Flowers Flowers are borne on an inflorescence, each shoot contains 2 - 6 flowers, each measures at 15 - 20 cm long. Flowers are large, white, trumpet-shaped, composed of a long thin tube that expands near the opening and spreads abruptly into 5 rounded lobes with frilly edges. They are fragrant, nocturnal, dropping off at about sunrise.
Fruits The fruit is a bean-like, splits upon maturity measuring 20–70 cm long by 1.5–3 cm wide. Seeds are buoyant, dark grey, rectangular with corky wings about 1.5cm long.
Habitat Occurs in upper mangrove forests including the landward edge of such forests, banks of tidal rivers and estuaries.
Associated Fauna Pollination is presumably by long-tongued nocturnal animals such as hawk moths.
Cultivation It can be propagated by seed.
Etymology Greek dolichos, long; Greek andron, male, referring to the long stamens of its flowers; Greek spathe, a broad leaf blade
Ethnobotanical Uses Medicinal ( A tea prepared from the leaves is thought to cure mouth diseases. Its leaves and fruits can be substitutes of betel leaves. Its seeds are given with ginger in cases of convulsive affections.)
Timber & Products ( The timber is light and good for carving. The Javanese use the wood to make saddles, while the Filipinos use it to make wooden shoes and fishing net floats. In Indonesia, the wood is used to make traditional masks and also as firewood.)

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is suitable for planting along roadsides or in coastal areas, as it can tolerate hot, sunny, high wind speed, and salt spray conditions. It can also tolerate waterlogged soil that is freshwater or brackish.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Fruits, Fragrant
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Moist Soils, Waterlogged Soils (Drains Site)
Landscape Uses Coastal, General, Roadside Tree / Palm, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Beachfront / Shoreline

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Moth Food Plant (Flower Nectar)
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna) (Insects (Butterfly, Moth))
Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic (Water)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water, Lots of Water
Plant Growth Rate Slow
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Propagation Method Seed


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Red
Foliar Type Compound (Odd-Pinnate)
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Lanceolate, Oblong, Ovate)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire, Entire - Wavy / Undulate
Foliar Apex - Tip Acuminate
Foliar Base Acute, Rounded / Obtuse
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.0 (Tree - Intermediate 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) White
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary
Flower Symmetry Bilateral
Individual Flower Shape Trumpet-shaped
Inflorescence Type Raceme
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Brown
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Dehiscent Dry Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Legume / Pod



Santisuk, T. (1987). Bignoniaceae. Flora of Thailand. 5(1). Bangkok: The Forest Herbarium, Royal Forest Department. pp. 32-66.

Tomlinson, P.B. (2016). Family: Bignoniaceae (eds) In: Tomlinson, P.B. The Botany of Mangroves, pp.215-219. Cornwall: Cambridge University Press.

Yong, J., Tan, P.Y., Nor, H.H., Tan, S.N. (2010). A Selection of Plants for Greening of Waterways and Waterbodies in the Tropics. Singapore: Chung Printing. pp. 480

Image Repository



Master ID 1566
Species ID 2859
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: 05 October 2022.