Ceriops decandra (Griffith) Ding Hou

Ceriops decandra (Griffith) Ding Hou




Ceriops roxburghiana Arn.

Vernacular Names

Malaysia Tengar (Peninsular), landing-landing (Sarawak).
Indonesia Tengar (Javanese), palun (Ambon), bido-bido (Halmahera).
Philippines Malatangal (Tagalog), tungung (Bisaya), tungug (Ibanag).
Myanmar Ka-pyaing.
Cambodia Smaè.
Thailand Kapuulong (Phetchaburi), prong khaao (Samut Sakhon), samae manoh (Satun).
Vietnam Dzà.
Brunei Tengar.


Geographical Distributions

The genus Ceriops Arn. was once more widely distributed than it is today. For example, it was probably present in Europe in the Eocene; both Ceriops and some other Rhizophoraceous genera appear in the European fossil record before they appear in that of Southeast Asia. Clearly, the geographical ranges of the species have changed. Thus, although C. decandra is now centred in Southeast Asia, it is not certain that it originated in this region. Its current range extends from the Indus delta in Pakistan around the coast of India and across the Bay of Bengal to Burma and thence through Indo-China, Thailand and Southeast Asia to Papua New Guinea. It also occurs locally in north-eastern Australia. In Southeast Asia, it is found in Peninsular Malaysia, the Philippines, Borneo, Java, Sulawesi, the Lesser Sunda Islands, the Moluccas, and New Guinea. It has not yet been collected from Sumatra, but has been recently reported there.


Ceriops decandra is a straight columnar tree, usually small to medium-sized. However, under favourable conditions, it attains a height of 35 m and trunk diametre of 35 cm, with a relatively narrow crown and short basal buttresses which appear to develop from the fusion of stilt roots clusters.

The roots are superficial, radially spread, with small knobby and/or pneumatophores loop in wet sites. The bark is whitish or pale grey, and smooth but slightly fissured towards the base. It peels around the buttresses. The branches are conspicuously jointed with swollen nodes.

The leaves are oppositely arranged, clustered at the end of the twigs, coriaceous, obovate to elliptic-oblong, measuring 4.5-10 cm x 2.5-6 cm, wedge-shaped at the base, rounded or subemarginate at the apex, hairless and glossy. The petiole is 1-2.5 cm long, with lance-shaped deciduous stipules at the base measuring 1.5-2.5 cm long.

The flowers are in head-like, condensed, up to 5-flowered cymes in leaf axils at the upper part of a branch. They are 5-6-merous, measure 5-6 mm long and with deeply lobed sepal. The white petals are about 2.5 mm long and divided fringe-like at the apex. The stamens are twice the number of sepal lobes. The anthers are longer than the filaments. The ovary is semi-inferior and 3-celled.

The fruit is an ovoid-conical berry, measures 1-1.8 cm long, with persistent, erect or ascending sepal lobes, blunt basally and warty at the apex. The seeds are viviparous. The hypocotyl is club-shaped, protruding below the fruit, measuring 9-15 cm long, occasionally longer (e.g. in New Guinea) and slightly fluted.

Ecology / Cultivation

Ceriops decandra is most common in tidal forests in high rainfall regions, where characteristically, it grows in the middle to landward parts of the mangrove swamps. Here, it is commonest in sites flooded by virtually all high tides, i.e. where the soil surface is below mean water level of high tides. It develops best immediately behind the forest strip lining rivers, and on the slightly higher muddy tidal flats behind, between rivers and creeks. In these sites, fresh water is in regular supply and salinity never exceeds that of normal sea water. Locally, this species is gregarious, forming a slender pole forest, but it is most often associated with species of Avicennia L., Bruguiera Lamk and Rhizophora L. However, its locality is not constant, and it occurs on the landward fringes of some mangrove swamps.

Line Drawing / Photograph



  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No.3: Dye and tannin-producing plants.