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Xylocarpus granatum J. Koenig

Family Name: Meliaceae
Synonyms: Xylocarpus obovatus
Common Name: Nyireh Bunga, Mangrove Cannonball Tree, Cannonball Mangrove, Nyirih, Nyirih Hudang, 木果楝
Full Sun Lots of Water Butterfly Host Plant Native to Singapore Coastal Plant Fragrant Plant 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), Shrubby (1m-5m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Irregular
Maximum Height 3 m to 20 m


Native Distribution From East Africa to tropical Asia, Papua New Guinea, and the Pacific Islands
Native Habitat Shoreline (Mangrove Forest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Least Concern (LC))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a tree up to 20 m tall, with long buttresses that snake laterally. Its smooth bark is light brown, yellowish or greenish, and flaky.
Trunk Trunk produces grey flaking bark with light brown to orange patches.
Roots Mature individuals produce long, spreading buttress roots which are usually not observed in young individuals.
Foliage Its alternate, stalked, pinnate leaves consist of up to 3 pairs of leaflets. The stalked leaflets have leathery leaf blades that are usually narrowly drop-shaped or oval, 3.5–12 by 2–6 cm, with rounded tips.
Flowers Its often forked flowering shoot is up to 7.6 cm long, and develops from the leaf axils, with indistinct main axis. Many clusters of up to 3 fragrant flowers are found on the shoot. Its flowers have creamy-white or pinkish petals. Flowers are fragrant.
Fruits Its brown fruits are woody capsules, and grapefruit- to small pomelo-sized. The ripe fruits split into four parts from the apex to reveal up to 20 seeds each. Its brown seed is up to 6 cm long with a corky seed coat.
Habitat It usually grows in estuarine mangrove forests. It occurs locally at the end of Lim Chu Kang Road, in Khatib Bongsu, Punggol area, Sungei Pandan, Pulau Ubin, and Pulau Tekong.
Associated Fauna Its flowers are insect-pollinated.
Cultivation It can be propagated by seed.
Etymology Greek xylon, wood; Greek karpos, fruit, referring to the woody fruits; Latin granatum, full of seeds
Ethnobotanical Uses Medicinal ( In Malaysian traditional medicine, the roots are used to treat cholera and dysentery.)
Timber & Products ( The wood was once used to make boats. The wood is available as short pieces of timber. The timber is used in boat building and other purposes.)
[Others]: This species has phytoremediation potential, because it accumulates manganese, zinc, boron, iron and copper. The bark contains tannin, so used for dying cloths, tanning leather, toughening and preserving fishing nets. Hair oil can be made using oil extracted from the seeds.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping The plant can tolerate brackish water, so may be suitable for planting in coastal areas.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Fruits, Fragrant
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Moist Soils, Waterlogged Soils (Drains Site, Does not Drain Site)
Landscape Uses Coastal, Beachfront / Shoreline, Phytoremediation (Ground / Water Contaminant(s))

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Caterpillar Food Plant (Leaves)
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)
Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Lots of Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Pest(s) Chewing Insects
Propagation Method Seed


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth
Foliar Type Compound (Even-Pinnate)
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Obovate, Oval)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Rounded
Foliar Base Acute
Typical Foliar Area Notophyll ( 20.25cm2 - 45 cm2 )
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.0 (Tree - Intermediate Canopy)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) White
Flower Texture(s) Smooth
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary
Flower Symmetry Radial
Individual Flower Shape Cruciform / Cross-shaped
Flower Size - Width 0.8 cm
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Brown
Mature Fruit Texture(s) Smooth
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Dehiscent Dry Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Capsule
Mature Seed Colour(s) Cream / Off-White
Mature Seed Texture(s) Smooth
Seed Quantity Per Fruit Few (1-5)


References Yong J, Tan PY, Nor Hafiz Hassan, Tan SN. 2010. A Selection of Plants for Greening of Waterways and Waterbodies in the Tropics. Singapore: Chung Printing . 480 pp.

Image Repository



Master ID 30527
Species ID 4836
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 August 2022.