Flora index
Fauna index
guide to the mangroves of singapore
Peter K L Ng and N Sivasothi (editors)
Sea teak
Podocarpus polystachyus
Class Pinopsida, Family Podocarpaceae

The single conifer, Podocarpus polystachyus (Phylum Pinophyta), found locally in mangroves is strictly speaking, a coastal species, more often found in beaches or rocky shores. Indeed, even in Singapore, one can find this more often in the latter at the southern islands but this also grows very well in the back mangrove zone which is twice-daily inundated by the tides! Conifers are plants which produce seed but have no flowers, instead developing their reproductive structures on cones or strobili (singular, strobilus).

Various parts of Southeast Asia to New Guinea. Locally at various southern islands and Sungei Mandai Kechil. Trees 1-20 m tall; bark reddish brown, narrowly fissured; leaf blades long and narrow in young plants, narrow and long or oval (6-13 by 3-10 cm) in older plants; male plants produce clusters of cream-coloured cones which shed whitish, powdery pollen; female plants produce a highly modified cone consisting of a fleshy receptacle and ovule (seed precursor); after fertilisation, the ovule becomes the seed and the receptacle enlarges and becomes shiny red. Sandy beaches, rocky coasts and mangroves.
wide shot of whole tree
Podocarpus polystachyus

close-up of cones
Cones of a male tree

close-up of cones
Cones of a female tree

The timber is commercially exploited (podo wood), the tree planted as an ornamental on roadsides or parks or can be grown as bonsai. Endangered.
What is mangrove?

The Ecosystem


Indirect uses
Potential uses

About Mangroves
in Singapore

Mangroves to visit
From "A Guide to Mangroves of Singapore", Peter K. L. Ng and N. Sivasothi (editors)
Volume 1: The Ecosystem and Plant Diversity and Volume 2: Animal Diversity
Authors: Kelvin K. P. Lim, Dennis H. Murphy, T. Morgany, N. Sivasothi, Peter K. L. Ng,
B. C. Soong, Hugh T. W. Tan, K. S. Tan & T. K. Tan
BP Guide to Nature Series published by the Singapore Science Centre, sponsored by British Petroleum
2001 Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, The National University of Singapore & The Singapore Science Centre