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Podocarpus polystachyus


Podocarpus polystachyus R.Br. ex Endl.

Family Name: Podocarpaceae
Synonyms: Nageia polystachia, Nageia thevetiaefolia, Podocarpus thevetiaefolius
Common Name: Sea Teak, Jati Laut, Jati Bukit, Podo Laut, Setada, Sentada, Sintada, 印度蓝屿罗汉松


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

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Gymnosperms (Non-Flowering Seed Plants) (Conifer)
Plant Growth Form Tree (Medium (16m-30m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Irregular
Maximum Height 20 m


Native Distribution Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Riow-Lingga and Bangka Islands, the Philippines, Borneo, the Moluccas, and New Guinea
Native Habitat Shoreline (Mangrove Forest, Sandy Beach, Coastal Cliff, Rocky Beach)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Endangered (EN))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is an evergreen, coniferous tree, up to 20 m tall.
Crown Its crown is broadly conical to dome-shaped in young trees, becoming irregular with age.
Foliage Its alternate, shortly-stalked leaves have leathery leaf blades that are narrowly lance-shaped, dark green, and 2.5–12 by 0.5–1.3 cm.
Reproductive Parts - non-flowering plant It is a dioecious species, with male and female cones borne on separate trees. The cream-coloured, cylindrical male cones develop in clusters of 3–5, and are each 2–4.5 cm long. The female cones develop singly, and consist of a single ovule up to 8 mm long on a fleshy, somewhat cylindrical receptacle about 6 mm long. The receptacle becomes red when the ovule becomes a mature seed, after pollination and fertilisation. The seed is green upon maturity, with a fleshy bright or dark red receptacle.
Others - Plant Morphology When grown in windswept conditions, tree may assume bent and gnarled form.
Habitat It usually grows along rocky and sandy seashores, in the landward edge of mangrove forest, and coastal cliffs.
Associated Fauna The seeds and the attached fleshy receptacles are eaten by birds and bats.
Cultivation It can be propagated by seed.
Etymology Genus name 'Podocarpus' means 'fruit foot', a reference to the swollen receptable holding the seed. Species epithet 'polystachyus' means 'many ears of corn', a description of the clustered male cones.
Ethnobotanical Uses Food (Fruit & Vegetable : The swollen, red receptacle is edible and sweet.)
Medicinal ( Leaves may be used to treat painful and rheumatic joints.)
Timber & Products ( It is an important source of softwood timber called Podo Wood or Podocarp timber. The wood is used as light to medium-weight softwood timber for interiorwork, beams, framing, furniture and oars. Wood is not weatherproof or insect resistant. )
Cultural / Religious ( Heritage Tree: There is currently one individual of Podocarpus polystachyus listed as Heritage Tree in Singapore. To find out more about this tree, please visit the Heritage Tree Register.)

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It may be planted as bonsai. It is also tolerant of many soil types. It is a tree suitable for gardens, parks and roadsides.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Fruits, Ornamental Foliage, Ornamental Form
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Saline Soils / Salt Spray, Waterlogged Soils (Drains Site), Easy to Grow, Fertile Loamy Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Poor Infertile Soils, Dry Soils / Drought
Landscape Uses Container Planting, General, Roadside Tree / Palm, Coastal, Bonsai, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Beachfront / Shoreline, Hedge / Screening
Thematic Landscaping Naturalistic Garden
SGMP Treatment

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Bird Attracting (Fruits)
Pollination Method(s) Abiotic (Wind)
Seed or Spore Dispersal Biotic (Fauna)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Slow
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Diseases Growing shoots cccasionally attacked by blue-grey aphids, causing leaf distortion.
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting, Air-Layering
Plant Growth Rate Remarks Slow
Propagation Method Remarks Seeds remain viable for only 3 months.


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth, Glossy / Shiny, Thick, Leathery
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Green - Light Green
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Lanceolate, Linear)
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute
Foliar Base Cuneate
Typical Foliar Area Notophyll ( 20.25cm2 - 45 cm2 )
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.0 (Tree - Intermediate Canopy)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Trunk Type (Non Palm) Woody
Bark Colour(s) Greyish-brown to dark brown
Mature Bark Texture Fissured, Peeling / Flaking / Papery, Cracked
Stem Type & Modification Woody
Root Type Underground (Tap Root, Fibrous Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Unisexual Flowers
Flower & Plant Sexuality 2 Dioecious
Flower Colour(s) Cream / Off-White
Flower Size - Remarks Male cones: 2.0 - 4.5 cm long x 0.3cm wide Female cones: 0.6- 0.8 cm long ovule on fleshy receptacle
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Red
Mature Seed Colour(s) Green
Plant Sexuality (non-Angiosperm) Dioecious
Reproductive Mode (non-Angiosperm) Sexual
Cone or Strobilus Type Epispermatium(Podocarpaceae)

Image Repository



Master ID 1784
Species ID 3077
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: 01 August 2022.