Barringtonia acutangula (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Barringtonia acutangula (L.) Gaertn.

Protologue: Fruct. 2: 97 (1791).


  • Barringtonia spicata Blume (1826),
  • Barringtonia luzonensis Vidal (1885),
  • Barringtonia edaphocarpa Gagnep. (1920).
  • Barringtonia pedicellata Ridley

Vernacular names

  • Indian putat (En)
  • Indonesia: putat (Malay), alakang (South Sulawesi), kacuk (Merauke, Papua)
  • Malaysia: jurai-jurai, pokok gajah beranak, putat nasi (Peninsular)
  • Papua New Guinea: ko'o (Delena, Central Province)
  • Philippines: apaling (Igorot), putat (Tagalog, Pampaya, Bikol), kalambuaia (Iloko)
  • Burma (Myanmar): kyeni, kyi
  • Laos: ka dôn nam2, ka dôn noy2
  • Thailand: chik na (peninsular), kradon thung (north-eastern), tong (northern)
  • Vietnam: cây mun, cây vung, ran bung, mung, lộc vừng, chiếc dỏ


From Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka to Indo-China, southern China, Burma (Myanmar), Thailand, and throughout the Malesian area towards northern Australia.


In Malaysia, the bark is used for poulticing ulcers in Perak, and bark, leaves and roots are applied for poulticing itch in Kedah. In the Philippines the bark is used as a fish poison. The bark in decoction is given as a stomachic; externally it is applied to wounds. In Burma (Myanmar), the root is considered aperient; the seed is used to treat ophthalmia, and the leaves to treat diarrhoea. In Central Province, Papua New Guinea, the scraped bark is squeezed with coconut meat and the juice is drunk daily for pneumonia, diarrhoea and asthma. In Indo-China, the bark is used as a remedy for diarrhoea, blennorrhoea, and malaria, externally a decoction is applied to sores. The liquid obtained by pounding the wood in water is considered haemostatic and given in menorrhagia. In Thailand, the roots are used as a laxative, the leaves are used for wound healing and against diarrhoea. In India, the bark, roots and seeds are employed as a fish poison. Powdered seeds in small doses are given to children as an expectorant and emetic. It is further used as an anthelmintic. In Thailand and Java, the young leaves are eaten as a vegetable.


  • A shrub or small tree, 2-13(-25) m tall, trunk 20-90 cm in diameter, twigs 3-5 mm in diameter.
  • Leaves elliptical or obovate-oblong, (5-)6-16(-22) cm × 2-6(-8) cm, apex obtuse, acute or acuminate, finely serrate-crenulate, glabrous or hairy, petiole 4-10(-15) mm long.
  • Raceme terminal, pendulous, 20-45(-78) cm long, up to 75-flowered, sessile or with pedicel 3-7 mm long, opening buds 5 mm long, calyx tube about 0.5 mm long, not accrescent, sepals free, green, petals 4(-5), elliptical, convex, 0.6-1(-1.2) cm × 0.4-0.7 cm, usually red, white or pink, stamens in 3 whorls, 1-2 cm long, deep pink or dark red, ovary 2-3(-4)-celled, style 1-2 cm long, dark red.
  • Berry oblong, 2-6 cm × 1-3 cm, acutely angled to almost globular, 4- or 8-winged or slightly winged, tapering to apex, exocarp thin, fibrous and wrinkled, mesocarp parenchymatous with two layers of anastomosing fibres, endocarp a thin brown membrane covering the inside of the cell; seed ovoid, 1-4 cm × 0.5-1.5 cm, grooved.

Based on flower and fruit characters, 2 subspecies are distinguished: subsp. acutangula and subsp. spicata (Blume) Payens. B. acutangula grows mostly along rivers, on plains regularly inundated or in swamps or freshwater mangroves from sea-level up to 750(-1600) m altitude.

Selected sources


  • Burkill, I.H., 1966. A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. Revised reprint. 2 volumes. Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Vol. 1 (A-H) pp. 1-1240, Vol. 2 (I-Z) pp. 1241-2444.

164, 175,

  • Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, 1988. The wealth of India: a dictionary of Indian raw materials & industrial products. Revised Edition. Vol. 2B. Publications and Information Directorate, New Delhi, India. xlii + 350 + 90 pp.

407, 634, 747, 786, 810. medicinals


  • M.A. Yaplito