The Teruntum Merah (Lumnitzera littorea) is a nationally endangered mangrove tree from the family Combretaceae.
This tree can be seen at several of our mangrove forests, including Pulau Tekong, Pulau Ubin, Pulau Semakau, Pasir Ris, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Kranji and St John's Island.
It occurs on the landward fringe of mangrove forests. The bark is fissured and reddish-brown. It relies on its roots to exclude salt from entering the plant through a process called ultrafiltration.
Young branches are reddish in colour.
It has simple, alternate, narrowly-drop-shaped leaves with a rounded tip. There is a small notch at the tip.
The flowers are red and occur in clusters. They are strongly scented with lots of nectar.
The small and somewhat corky fruits are buoyant and dispersed by water. They often have a reddish tinge.
The wood is hard and extremely durable, and is used for the building of bridges, wharves, cart axles, flooring and sleepers. It has a rose-like scent, making it popular as a cabinet timber.
- Chong, K. Y., H. T. W. Tan & R. T. Corlett, 2009. A Checklist of the Total Vascular Plant Flora of Singapore: Native, Naturalised and Cultivated Species. Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore. Singapore. 273 pp.
- Giesen, W., S. Wulffraat, M. Zieren & L. Scholten. 2006. Mangrove guidebook for Southeast Asia. RAP Publication 2006/07. FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific & Wetlands International. Bangkok. 769 pp.
- Ng, P. K. L. & N. Sivasothi. 1999. A guide to the mangroves of Singapore 1 : the ecosystem & plant diversity. Singapore Science Centre. Singapore. 168 pp.