Alstonia pneumatophora Backer ex Den Berger

Etymology Genus After Dr Charles Alston, a professor of Botany
Species Pneumatophores, or aerial roots
Family Apocynaceae
Synonyms -
Common Names Marsh Pulai, Pulai Basong
Status Native: Critically Endangered
Form Tree
Native Distribution Malesia


Alstonia pneumatophora is a rare tree known only in a few locations of our freshwater swamp forest. It grows up to 55m tall and have a fluted base trunk, with kneeled or curving pneumatophores (aerial roots) above the water. In addition, its leaves are usually sessile, another useful indicator to differentiate with another native freshwater relative, Alstonia spatulata.

Interesting Facts:

From Middleton (2007), the wood is soft and used for carving; the wood from the pneumatophores is used as a substitute for cork; and the latex can be applied to wounds.

Large fluted buttress trunk in Central Catchment Reserve (2010).

Aerial roots or pneumatophores.

Sessile leaves, where the blade runs along the stalk.


Middleton DJ. (2007) Apocynaceae (Subfamilies Rauvolfioideae and Apocynoideae). Flora Malesiana, Volume 18. 474 pp.

Author: Jake
Posted: 2018-12-24 / Modified: 2018-12-25