Singapore Government Logo

A Singapore Government Agency Website

Rhizophora stylosa


Rhizophora stylosa Griff.

Family Name: Rhizophoraceae
Common Name: Bakau pasir


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants)
Plant Growth Form Tree (Medium (16m-30m), Small (6m-15m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 20 m


Native Distribution Taiwan, Southeast Asia, including Singapore, Australia and Papua New Guinea
Native Habitat Shoreline
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Vulnerable (VU))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Small to medium-sized erect tree, can grow up or over to 10 m.
Crown Conical crown
Trunk Smooth, grey to black fissured bark, trunk diameter can reach up to 10 - 15 cm.
Roots Stilt roots measuring up to 3 m long and sometimes aerial roots emerging from the lower branches.
Foliage Leathery leaves, broadly elliptic, measuring 6.5 - 12.5 by 3 - 7.5 cm, has tiny black dots on the lower surface and a pointed tip. Leaf stalk is 1 - 3.5 cm long and with 4 - 6 cm long leaflets at its base. 
Flowers Flowers are composed of cream-coloured, linear petals arranged in a cross-shaped pattern. Flower heads are located in the axils and forked 3 - 5 times, with 5 - 8 bisexual flowers, each on a 2.5 - 5 cm long stalk. Flower buds are widest near the base. Four pale-yellow calyx lobes remain present on the fruit and are recurved. The four yellowish to whitish petals are 8 mm long and have densely woolly margins. Each flower has 8 stamens and a 4 - 6 mm long style.
Fruit Brown, pear-shaped fruit hang with the smaller end pointed down. A long, cylindrical propagule emerges from the smaller end, while the fruit is still attached to the parent plant. This condition is known as viviparity. Propagule measures 20 - 35 cm long.
Habitat Found in tidal habitats on mud, sands, coarse grits and rock, preferring banks of tidal rivers, and can also be a pioneering species in coastal environments or on landward margins of mangroves.
Cultivation The seedling, known as a propagule, is planted by placing it vertically in soil. 
Ethnobotanical Uses Timber & Products: Wood is used for firewood and charcoal.
Others: This species' extensive set of prop roots help to disperse the destructive energy carried by strong tidal waves, helping to protect the shoreline and surrounding areas.

Landscaping Features

Landscape Uses Coastal, Riverine

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Lots of Water
Rootzone Tolerance Waterlogged Soils, Saline Soils / Salt Spray
Propagation Method Viviparious Propagule


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green - Light Green
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Cream / Off-White

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Brown

Image Repository



Master ID 30838
Species ID 5200
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: 20 August 2021.