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Conocarpus erectus var. sericeus


Conocarpus erectus var. sericeus Fors ex DC.

Family Name: Combretaceae
Common Name: Silver Buttonwood, Silver-leaf Buttonwood, Button Mangrove, Grey Mangrove, False Mangrove


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

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Tree, Shrub
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Vase, Weeping / Pendulous, Open
Maximum Height 15 m
Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width 6 m


Native Distribution Tropical Americas (Florida, Mexico, Honduras, Bahamas, Jamaica), Tropical West Africa
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Coastal Forest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Non-native (Horticultural / Cultivated Only)

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a multi-trunked tree, or shrub with low spreading branches.
Foliage Its alternate, stalked leaves are oblong to lanceolate in shape, densely-covered by silky hairs and appear silver in colour, 5-10 cm long.
Flowers Its flowers are inconspicuous, greenish purple-white, free-blooming.
Fruits Its fruits are aggregate fruits, reddish-brown in colour, small, resembling cone-like buttons.
Others - Plant Morphology Can be planted singly as specimen tree in silver-themed gardens, or grown close together as informal or clipped hedge. Also suitable as bonsai. Drought and salt-tolerant, suitable for coastal or beachfront planting. Coastal trees tend to grow contorted trunks. Plants located far inland may be affected by sooty mould caused by sucking insects. Wood once used as high-quality charcoal in Florida, especially for smoking fish and meat dishes. Corky bark harvested commercially for high tannin content.
Habitat It grows in coastal swamps of (along the edges of salt flats, rocklands, fresh and brackish marshes) in South Florida.
Cultivation It can be propagated by seeds or stem-cuttings.
Etymology Greek kono, cone, Greek karpos, fruit, referring to the cone-like fruits; Latin erectus, upright; Latin sericeus, silky, silky-hairy, referring to the silky hairs that cover the surfaces of the leaves.
Ethnobotanical Uses Timber & Products ( Wood was once an important source of firewood and charcoal in Florida. Sometimes used in cabinet-making. Bark is high in tannin, can be harvested commercially.)

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is suitable for planting along roadsides, parks and gardens for its attractive silvery foliage, and its tolerance to hot and windy conditions.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage, Ornamental Fruits, Ornamental Trunk
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Dry Soils / Drought, Fertile Loamy Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Waterlogged Soils (Drains Site), Saline Soils / Salt Spray, Acidic (low pH) Soils, Alkaline high pH Soils
Landscape Uses Coastal, Bonsai, Roadside Tree / Palm, Flowerbed / Border, Hedge / Screening, Container Planting, General, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens
Thematic Landscaping Silver Garden, Moonlight Garden
SGMP Treatment
Usage Hazard - Cons Low Crown / Clearance
Plant & Rootzone Preference or Tolerance Remarks Tolerates occasional wet soils.

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic (Water, Explosive Dehiscence)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water, Little Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Planting Distance From 6
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Pruning Branches tend to droop with age, require pruning for pedestrian or vehicular clearance. Can be trained to grow with multiple or single trunk.
Diseases No known serious pests or diseases. Sucking insects may cause sooty mold on inland trees.
Propagation Method Stem Cutting, Air-Layering, Seed
Propagation Method Remarks Seeds reportedly sterile, or not true to parent plant.


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Silver / Grey
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth, Velvety / Furry / Tomentose, Thick
Foliar Modification Salt Excreting
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Lanceolate, Oblong)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Typical Foliar Area Microphyll ( 2.25cm2 - 20.25 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) Dark brown
Mature Bark Texture Fissured, Scaly
Stem Type & Modification Woody
Root Type Underground (Tap Root, Fibrous Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Green, Purple, White
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary
Flower Size - Remarks Small, inconspicuous
Inflorescence Type Panicle
Flowering Period Free-Flowering
Flowering Opening Time Time-Independent
Flower Lifespan on Plant Several Days
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Brown, Red
Fruit Classification Aggregate Fruit (Syncarp)
Fruit Type 1 Dehiscent Dry Fruit

Image Repository



Master ID 21753
Species ID 3372
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: 13 December 2022.