Barringtonia acutangula – Indian Oak

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Scientific Name

Barringtonia acutangula (L.) Gaertn.

Common Names

Indian Oak, Indian Oak Tree, Small Indian Oak, Indian Putat, Freshwater Mangrove, Itchy Tree, Mango Pine


Eugenia acutangula (basionym), Barringtonia acutangula subsp. acutangula, Barringtonia rubra, Butonica acutangula, Caryophyllus acutangulus, Huttum acutangulum, Michelia acutangula, Stravadium acutangulum

Scientific Classification

Family: Lecythidaceae
Genus: Barringtonia


Color: Bright red
Bloom Time: Spring


Barringtonia acutangula is an evergreen tree up to 40 feet (12 m) tall. The bark is dark brown and rough, while the leaves are minutely denticulate-crenate and narrowed into the petiole. The flowers are in long pendulous racemes up to 16 inches (40 cm) long, and are fragrant, with bright red stamens. Petals are up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) long. Fruits are bluntly quadrangular or ovoid, up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) long, broadest in the middle, and contain one seed.

How to Grow and Care

Grows naturally in moderately humid to humid tropical coastal climates, generally in areas with annual lows of 68 to 77 °F (20 to 25 °C), annual highs of 81 to 93 °F (27 to 34 °C), annual rainfall of 1000 to 4000 mm and a dry season of 6 months or less.

Sea Poison Tree grows best in a fertile, humid, well-drained soil. Prefers a position in full sun or light shade. Established plants are fairly drought tolerant and very tolerant of saline conditions and salt laden winds. They thrive in the wild where their roots dabbling in the brackish waters of lagoons, inlets, estuaries and seasonally flooded coastal regions.

New plants are usually grown from seed. It performs best on free draining sand and loam soils of a slightly acid to alkaline nature, generally with a pH of 6.0 to 8.5 and on sites with full sun exposure. It has good tolerance to salt, wind, tidal flooding and coral derived limestone soils.

Native to coastal wetlands in southern Asia and northern Australasia, from Afghanistan east to the Philippines and Queensland.
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