This mangrove tree is among the most commonly seen Rhizophora in our
mangroves. It is gregarious on deep soft mud of estuaries flooded by
high tides. According to Geisen it 'avoids' firmer substrates mixed
with sand, and prefers tidal waterways with strong freshwater input.
It can be dominant, forming 90% of the vegetation at a site.
According to Hsuan Keng, they are common in mangroves and recorded
for Changi, Jurong, Seletar and Bajau. It was formerly known as R.
conjugata. It is also known as 'Bakau putih' (white Bakau) and 'Bakau
tandok' (horned Bakau).
Features: Tree 20-30m tall. Leaves eye-shaped (8-15cm long),
glossy green and stiff, with tiny evenly distributed black spots on
the underside. Stipule is usually (but not always) red. Flowers
appear in pairs on very short stalks so they appear to be stuck
directly onto the branch. The bract is brown, hard and thick. The
yellow to white petals are flat, membranous and hairless, falling
off soon after blossoming. The fruit looks like a brown, upside down
pear and is crowned by persistent sepals. The cylindrical hypocotyl
can be up to 38cm long, somewhat smooth, green with purple. Bark
dark grey and chequered. Conspicuous arching stilt roots that can
extend 5m up the stem. Often also with lots of aerial roots emerging
from the branches so that the tree appears to have a skirt of roots
under the leaves.
Human uses: According to Giesen, the wood is heavy and hard and
requires careful seasoning to prevent splitting but thereafter works
and finishes well. It is used for foundations in piling, beams and
the outriggers of dugout canoes, as well as furniture and interiors
of houses. Branched stilt roots as used for making anchors. It is
also used for firewood and making charcoal. It is sometimes planted
to protect bunds and dykes. It is also used in mangrove
rehabilitation and plantation forestry.