Flora index
Fauna index
guide to the mangroves of singapore
Flowering plants
Peter K L Ng and N Sivasothi (editors)
Portia tree
Thespesia populnea
Family Malvaceae

Eastern tropics. Locally, in many mangrove areas. An upright tree to about 10 m tall. The leaves are spirally arranged, hairless and the blades are slightly fleshy, triangular heart-shaped and gradually narrowing to the tip, green above and light green below. The petals are pale yellow becoming purple with age, with maroon eye. The stamens are joined into pale yellow tube and the stigmas are pale yellow. The fruit is flattened spherical and crowned by the disc-like sepals. The flowers open at about 10 am. Has potential as an ornamental tree because of the neat crown shape and pretty flowers. On beaches and mangroves. Rare.
close-up of flowering branch
Old (left) and newly
opened flower

wide shot of whole trees
Thespesia populnea tree with Hibiscus tiliceus (left)

close-ups of the different leaves
Underside and upperside
of leaves of
Thespesia populnea
and Hibiscus tiliceus
close-up of bark

close-up of dissected fruit
Differs from Sea hibiscus in the sepals forming a smooth-edged cup (vs. pointed tips), the slightly fleshy, hairless, narrower, above green and smooth-edged leaf blades (vs. papery, hairy- below, broader, above dark green and toothed leaf blades) and yellow stigmas (vs. deep crimson purple).
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