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Seashore and Beach Plants

Scyphiphora hydrophyllacea chengam Cinggam Rubiaceae

 

chengam, singgam, Scyphiphora hydrophyllacea

 

Scyphiphora hydrophyllacea

chengam, singgam, Scyphiphora hydrophyllacea

A shrub up to 3m. Leaves spoon shaped with smooth, oval-shaped tips, leathery (3-5cm long), shiny green and held upright, arranged opposite one another. Old leaves are yellow then turn shiny pink. Terminal bud and young leaves coated in a varnish-like substance. Flowers in dense clusters about 3-4cm across. Corolla with four white curving lobes and a short pink tube. Nectar is secreted at the base of the tube which is accessible to short-tongued insects. Fruit oblong with 6-8 ridges, first green then white. The outer layer of the fruit is fleshy with a corky inner layer. The fruit separates into two halves when ripe. Each fruit contains 4 or fewer seeds. The fruits float because of the spongy inner layer. Twigs reddish when young. Bark greyish black, ridged and fissured.
Sometimes mistaken for Teruntum (Lumnitzera sp.), which has its leaves arranged in a spiral.
Human uses: According to Giesen, the wood may be used to make household objects such as spoons, while larger pieces are used for fence posts and firewood. The leaves are used to treat stomach problems.

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