Barringtonia racemosa (L.) Spreng.

Barringtonia racemosa (L.) Spreng.




Barringtonia insignis Miq., Barringtonia pallida (Miers) Koord. & Valeton, Barringtonia salomonensis Rech.

Vernacular Names

Malaysia Putat ayam, putat kampong (Peninsular), putat ayer (Sabah).
English Common putat.
Indonesia Butun darat (Indonesian, Moluccas), penggung (Java), putat sungai (Bangka).
Brunei Putat aying.

Chik ban, chik suan (Central).


Apalang (Filipino).

Myanmar Kye-bin, kyi.
Laos Som pawng.

Geographical Distributions

Barringtonia racemosa is distributed from eastern Africa and Madagascar to Sri Lanka, India, Burma (Myanmar), Indo-China, southern China, Taiwan, the Ryukyu Islands, Thailand, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, throughout the Malesian region towards Micronesia, Polynesia (east to Fiji and Samoa) and northern Australia.


Barringtonia racemosa is a shrub or small to medium-sized tree which can grow up to 2-20(-27) m tall, measures 10-50 cm in trunk diametre and 3-6 mm in twig diametre.

The leaves are tufted, obovate-oblong or obovate-lance-shaped, measuring 14-36(-42) cm x 4-14(-16) cm, with wedge-shaped base, and with acute to acuminate and slightly winged petiole.

The raceme or spike is 20-70(-100) cm long, terminal, rarely ramiflorous, pendulous and (3-)7(-20)-flowered. The pedicel measures up to 2.5 cm long with open buds that are 0.5-1 cm long. The sepal tube is red, measures about 2-5 mm long, accrescent, and rupturing in 2-4(-5) unequal segments while there are 4 petals which are elliptical, convex, measuring 1.5-2.5 cm x 0.5-1.5 cm and white (occasionally red). The stamens are in (5-)6 whorls, measure 2-4 cm long, white, pink, purple or red. The ovary is (2-)3-4-celled, with style (2-)3-5.5 cm long, pink, purple, red or white.

The berry is ovoid, measuring 5-7(-9) cm x 2-4(-5.5) cm, subtetragonous, truncate and with tapered base. The pericarp is 3-12 mm thick while the exocarp is rather fleshy with dispersed fibres and a wrinkled, reticulate or fissured outer layer. The endocarp is a strong layer of longitudinal anastomosing fibres which is covered by a thin brown membrane inside. The seed is ovoid, measuring 2-4 cm x 1-1.5 cm, subtetragonous, tapers towards the apex and is rather flat at the base.

Ecology / Cultivation

Barringtonia racemosa is found in primary and secondary forests, mostly restricted to inundated flood plains on tidal river banks, or in swampy localities and also occurs behind the mangrove or in the upper mangrove swamp. It grows well under slightly saline conditions or on beaches near high water level, with a preference for heavy clay, loam or rich volcanic soils, usually a little above sea level and occasionally up to 500(-900) m altitude.

Line Drawing / Photograph



  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No.5(3): Timber trees: Lesser-known timbers.