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Tropical Seashores  : Mangrove

Bruguiera hainesii

Eye of the Crocodile Bakau mata buaya Rhizophoraceae


Eye of the Crocodile, Bruguiera hainesii, Bakau mata buaya


Eye of the Crocodile, Bruguiera hainesii, Bakau mata buaya

It is widely distributed from south Myanmar and Thailand through the Malay archipelago to Papua New Guinea but it has not been recorded from Queensland.

Features: Tall tree to 33m with a trunk up to 70cm in diameter. Bark brown to grey with yellowish brown lenticels from top to base, sometimes smooth. Short buttress and knee roots.

Leaves oval, shiny green (9-16cm long). Flowers larger than B. cylindrica (about 2cm) in clusters of 2-3 flowers. Calyx is pale green with 10 stout long lobes. Petals are pale turning orangey brown, hairy with 2-4 bristles at the tips.

Propagule develops on the parent plant: the hypocotyl is cigar-shaped (1-9cm long), slightly thickened towards the end, slightly curved. The calyx lobes are extended at right angles to the hypocotyl.

According to Tomlinson, the small flowers are pollinated by day flying insects such as butterflies. The petals of the flower hold loose pollen and are under tension. When probed at the base, the petal unzips to scatter a cloud of pollen over the head of the visiting insect.

Status and threats: This plant is listed as 'Critically Endangered' on the Red List of threatened plants of Singapore, as well as globally on the IUCN Red List.