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Guilandina bonduc


Guilandina bonduc (L.) Roxb.

Family Name: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Synonyms: Caesalpinia bonduc, Caesalpinia bonducella (L.) Fleming
Common Name: Gray Nicker, 刺果苏木


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 Climber, Shrub
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Irregular
Maximum Height 15 m


Native Distribution South Thailand through Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei, Singapore to Papua New Guinea
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Secondary Rainforest, Coastal Forest), Shoreline (Backshore, Sandy Beach)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Critically Endangered (CR))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a climber up to 15 m long.
Foliage Its leaves consist of leaflets that are opposite to subopposite, 6–9 pairs per pinnae, egg-shaped or oval-oblong, and 1–6.5 by 0.5–3 cm.
Flowers Its flowers are unisexual and covered with fine hair. Its sepals are 0.7–1 by 0.2–0.3 cm. Its petals are narrowly drop-shaped and 0.7–1 by 0.2–0.3 cm.
Fruit Its pods (fruits) are dehiscent (splitting open to release its seeds), covered with hair, and 6.5–9 by 3.5–4.5 cm. Each fruit has 1 or 2 seeds that are egg-shaped to round, grey, and 1.5–2 cm long.
Habitat It grows in coastal regions, inland forests, and secondary forests up to about 850 m altitude.
Associated Fauna It is the preferred local food plant for the caterpillars of the durian fruit borer (Conogethes punctiferalis), Acrocercops hyphantica, Blastobasis guilandinae, Lacera alope, Marmara guilandinella, and Pococera floridella.
Cultivation It can be propagated by seed or stem cuttings.
Etymology Latin Caesalpinia, commemorating Andrea Caesalpini (1519–1603), Tuscan botanist and physician; bonduc, the Arabic vernacular name for a nut
Ethnobotanical Uses Others: Its seeds are used to soothe stomach disorders and as a mild purgative. Administered in powder form they are considered a febrifuge and tonic. Its leaves are considered carminative, and are used in the treatment of abnormal urination. Its leaves are also an ingredient of a famous cough formula. In Indonesia, its leaves or pounded seeds are employed as an anthelmintic. A decoction of the leaves is prescribed as an antidepressant for mentally disturbed persons. In large doses the plant is believed to be poisonous. A decoction of the leaves is used to treat sinusitis, and of the roots for fatigue. Its leaves and bark are considered emmenagogue, febrifuge and anthelmintic. Its seed has a reputation as a tonic and antipyretic.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It may be suitable for parks, as a hedge to keep trespassers out.
Landscape Uses General, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Hedge / Screening
Usage Hazard - Cons Spines/Thorns - Stem/Branch, Spines/Thorns - Leaf, Spines/Thorns - Fruit

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

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

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water, Little Water
Rootzone Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Saline Soils / Salt Spray, Fertile Loamy Soils
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Foliar Type Compound
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Unisexual Flowers , Dioecious
Flower Colour(s) Yellow / Golden
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Brown
Mature Fruit Texture(s) Thorny / Spiny
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type

Image Repository



Master ID 31703
Species ID 6102
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: 22 February 2022.