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Tristaniopsis whiteana


Tristaniopsis whiteana (Griff.) Peter G.Wilson & J.T.Waterh.

Family Name: Myrtaceae
Synonyms: Tristania whiteana Griff., Tristania sumatrana Miq.
Common Name: River Tristania, Pelawan, Selunchor, Cancal, Cangal, Kayu Malu


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 Tree (Medium (16m-30m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 24 m


Native Distribution Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Borneo.
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Secondary Rainforest, Coastal Forest, Riverine)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Endangered (EN))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a tree, up to 24 m tall.
Trunk Its bark is flakey, orange, grey and white in colour.
Foliage Its alternate, stalked leathery leaves are obovate, 7-20 cm by 2-5.5 cm.
Flowers Its tiny flowers are about 5 mm wide, with white petals and reddish sepals. Flowers are borne on a branched flowering shoot measuring 5-7.5 cm wide.
Fruit Its fruits are small, ellipsoid, 2.5-4 mm wide.
Habitat It grows along rivers from freshwater tidal reaches to the foothills.
Associated Fauna Its insects are insect-pollinated.
Cultivation It can be propagated by seed.
Etymology Latin Tristaniopsis, like Tristania, which commemorates Marquess de Tristan (1776–1861), a French botanist. Latin whiteana, commemorating Reverend White (c. 1841), a Christian chaplain in Singapore.
Ethnobotanical Uses Timber & Products: The timber is good for making straight beams and posts.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is a coastal plant, with a neat crown, and smooth peeling bark that is orange-grey-brown in colour. It is able to grow on very steep slopes. It is suitable for gardens, parks and streetscapes.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Trunk
Landscape Uses Roadside Tree / Palm, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Coastal, Riverine

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)
Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils
Propagation Method Seed


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Glossy / Shiny, Leathery
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Orange
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Obovate, Lanceolate, Oblong)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute
Foliar Base Cuneate
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.0 (Tree - Intermediate Canopy)

Floral (Angiosperm)

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

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Brown, Green
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type Dehiscent Dry Fruit , Capsule

Image Repository



Master ID 1903
Species ID 3196
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: 08 February 2024.