Barringtonia racemosa (L.) Spreng.

Last updated: 16 April 2015

Scientific Name

Barringtonia racemosa (L.) Spreng.


Barringtonia apiculata (Miers) R.Knuth [Illegitimate], Barringtonia caffra (Miers) E.Mey. ex R.Knuth, Barringtonia celebesensis R.Knuth, Barringtonia ceramensis R.Knuth, Barringtonia ceylanica (Miers) Gardner ex C.B.Clarke, Barringtonia elongata Korth., Barringtonia excelsa A.Gray, Barringtonia inclyta Miers ex B.D.Jacks. [Invalid], Barringtonia lageniformis Merr. & L.M.Perry, Barringtonia longiracemosa C.T.White, Barringtonia obtusangula (Blume) R.Knuth, Barringtonia pallida (Miers) Koord. & Valeton, Barringtonia rosaria Oken, Barringtonia rosata (Sonn.) R.Knuth, Barringtonia rumphiana (Miers) R.Knuth, Barringtonia salomonensis Rech., Barringtonia stravadium Blanco, Barringtonia terrestris (Miers) R.Knuth, Barringtonia timorensis Blume, Butonica alba (Pers.) Miers [Illegitimate], Butonica apiculata Miers, Butonica caffra Miers, Butonica ceylanica Miers, Butonica inclyta Miers,   Butonica racemosa (L.) Juss., Butonica rosata (Sonn.) Miers, Butonica rumphiana Miers, Butonica terrestris Miers, Caryophyllus racemosus (L.) Stokes, Eugenia racemosa L., Huttum racemosum (L.) Britten, Megadendron ambiguum Miers, Megadendron pallidum Miers, Menichea rosata Sonn., Michelia apiculata (Miers) Kuntze, Michelia ceylanica (Miers) Kuntze, Michelia racemosa (L.) Kuntze, Michelia rosata (Sonn.) Kuntze, Michelia timorensis (Blume) Kuntze, Stravadium album Pers. [Illegitimate], Stravadium obtusangulum Blume, Stravadium racemosum (L.) Sweet [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Putat ayam, putat kampong (Peninsular); putat ayer (Sabah)[2][3] putat padi, putat kampung, putat darat, putat kedul [4]
English Common putat [2] freshwater mangrove, fish-killer tree, fish-poison wood [3]
China Yu rui [3]
India Samudraphala (Sanskrit) [3]
Indonesia Butun darat (Indonesian, Moluccas);penggung (Java); putat sungai (Bangka) [2][3]
Thailand Chik ban, chik suan (Central) [2][3]
Laos Som pawng [2][3]
Brunei Putat aying [2]
Myanmar Kye-bin, kyi [2][3]
Philippines Apalang (Filipino) putat, nulling, tuba-tuba [2]
Africa Poeierkwasboom [3]
Papua New guinea Paopao[3]

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. [2]

This plant 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. [2]

Botanical Description

B. racemosa is a member of the family Lecythidaceae [1]. It 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 [2].

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. [2]

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. [2]

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. [2]

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. [2]


B. racemosa  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. [2]

Chemical Constituent

No documentation

Plant Part Used

No documentation

Traditional Use

No documentation

Preclinical Data

No documentation

Clinical Data

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of B. racemosa (L.) Spreng.[2]


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Barringtonia racemosa (L.) Spreng.[homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2015 Apr 15]. Available from:
  2. Yaplito MA. Barringtonia racemosa (L.) Spreng. In: van Valkenburg JLCH, Bunyapraphatsara N, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 12(2): Medicinal and poisonous plants 2. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publisher; 2001. p. 106-107.
  3. Philippines medicinal plants. Putat. Barringtonia racemosa (L.) Spreng.[homepage on the Internet] c2014. [updated 2013 Nov; cited 2015 Apr 16] Available from
  4. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research. Compendium of Medicinal Plants Used in Malaysia. Volume 1. Kuala Lumpur: HMRC IMR; 2002. p.102.