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Bruguiera gymnorhiza (L.) Lam.

Family Name: Rhizophoraceae
Synonyms: Bruguiera capensis Blume, Bruguiera conjugata Merr., Bruguiera rheedii Blume, Bruguiera rumphii Blume, Bruguiera wightii Blume, Bruguiera zippelii Blume, Bruguiera celsum Rumph., Bruguiera minus Rumph., Rhizophora gymnorhiza L., Rhizophora palun, Rhizophora rheedii Steud., Rhizophora tinctoria Blanco
Common Name: Tumu Merah, Tumu, Large-Leafed Orange Mangrove, Large-Leafed Mangrove, Bakau Besar, Betut, Tumbus, Tumus, 木榄
Full Sun: 6-8h Semi-Shade Lots of Water Bird-Attracting Native to Singapore Fruit & Vegetable Coastal Ornamental Flowers Ornamental Foliage Aquatic &Hydrophyte Tree


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)), Aquatic & Hydrophyte
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Conical, Columnar
Maximum Height 20 m


Native Distribution South and East Africa, Madagascar through to India, Myanmar, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, throughout Indonesia, Brunei, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, northern Australia to Ryuku Islands, Polynesia and Samoa
Native Habitat Terrestrial, Shoreline (Mangrove Forest, Backshore, Mudflat)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Common)

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a medium-sized tree up to 20 m tall. Its bark is dark grey to brown and rough, with distinct lenticels. The plant is buttressed at the base and produces kneed roots which protrude above the substrate. When in flower, small clusters of the reddish calyxes can be seen throughout the tree.
Crown Columnar or conical.
Foliage Its opposite, long-stalked, leaves are thinly fleshy and leathery. Leaf blades are usually oval, lance-shaped to broadly oval, and 9–24 by 4–9 cm, dark green above, and light green below.
Flowers The pendulous flowers are borne singly on short stalks at axils. The calyx is pinkish to dark red, 1.5–2.5 cm, top-shaped, opening up into 10–16 pointed lobes at the distal end. The petals are 9–14, 1.5 – 2.5 cm long, white to creamy orange, hairy, with 3–4 bristles at the tip.
Fruits The fruit develops within the calyx tube and becomes enlarged when ripened. The single seed germinates within the calyx tube while attached to the parent plant, forming a green hypocotyl tipped by the radicle that emerges from the calyx, known as a propagule. The propagule is cigar-shaped, long, stout, ridged, 19–25 by 1–1.7 cm, and maturing from green to dark purple.
Associated Fauna Its flowers are pollinated by sunbirds. It is the preferred local food plant for caterpillars of the moth, Olene mendosa.
Cultivation It is propagated by the propagules. Washed up propagules may be collected from the shore or directly from the tree when mature (purplish) and planted straight into the potting medium. They do best with slightly alkaline soils and high-nitrogen fertilizers, e.g., urea. This mangrove species is able to thrive in freshwater conditions.
Etymology Latin Bruguiera, after J. G. Bruguieres (1750–1799), French expolorer; Greek gymnos, naked, Greek rhiza, root, referring to the conspicuously exposed knee-roots of this species
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Fruits, Edible Leaves)
Food (Fruit & Vegetable : Leaves are also eaten as salad or flavouring. The inner flesh of the hypocotyl is eaten with sugar.)
Medicinal ( The bark is used as a medicine for diarrhoea and occasionally malaria. An extract of the bark is also used as a source of tannin and dye. Fruits are reportedly used as an astringent and food.)
Timber & Products ( The brownish or yellowish brown, heavy, fine-grained wood is used as timber for piling,   house posts, furniture, and rafters by the Malays. The wood is also made into charcoal.)

Landscaping Features

Landscaping This tree can be planted half-submerged along the water edges of ponds, reservoirs, and waterways, or in waterlogged soil for its attractive lush foliage and reddish flowers. It is rather slow-growing, hence minimum maintenance is needed. Well-fertilized, young plants can flower at about 1 m height or less.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Ornamental Foliage, Ornamental Form
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Waterlogged Soils (Does not Drain Site), Saline Soils / Salt Spray, Fertile Loamy Soils, Alkaline high pH Soils
Landscape Uses Coastal, Beachfront / Shoreline, Riverine, Pond / Lake / River, Marsh / Bog
Thematic Landscaping Water Garden, Marsh Garden
SGMP Treatment
Species record last updated on: 20 April 2020.