From a slender shrub to small tree up to 5m, sometimes to 24m, in
Singapore to about 15m tall. Bark grey fissured and slightly flanged
base. Knee roots may be up to 30cm tall.
Leaves oval (7-13cm) light green with slender petioles, arranged
opposite one another. Stipules are light green. Flowers appear in
groups of 2-5 per leaf angle. The calyx is a slender tube with 8
short lobes. Petals yellowish-green with 3 bristles on each lobe.
Propagule develops on the parent plant: thin, smooth and long
hypocotyl (8-13cm long) slightly curved, and the calyx lobes
clasping the propagule (not bent towards the stalk).
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.
It is found in inner mangrove fringes and river banks and has
characteristics of a pioneer species. It forms single species stands
in areas that are infrequently inundated, while isolated individuals
may occur along tidal waterways and coastal fish ponds. Often found
in solid stands in the interior of mangroves on firm mud flats. The
hypocotyls establish themselves better in areas with much or
moderate sunlight. It can be common in overlogged areas or where
immature mangrove vegetation is exploited. It is found on the inner
side of the mangrove and noted to be a slow grower and has the
The germinating seedling is sometimes eaten as a vegetable.