Caesalpinia bonduc (L.) Roxb.

Etymology Genus After Andreas Caesalpini, a 16th Italian botanist and physician to Pope Clement VIII
Species Arabic word for a hazelnut or filbert
Family Fabaceae
Synonyms Guillandina bonduc L., Bonduc minus Medik., Caesalpinia bonducella (L.) Fleming
Common Names Gray Nicker, Yellow Nicker, Bonduc Nut, Fever Nut
Status Native: Critically Endangered
Form Climber
Native Distribution Pantropical


Caesalpinia bonduc is a rare climber currently only found locally at coastal beaches of Pulau Senang, Pulau Semakau, Lazarus Island & Punggol (Lok et al., 2011), though they are also found in inland forests in other countries. They have large bipinnate leaves of up to 1m, spiny stems, and stipules at the leaf stalk.

Interesting Facts:

The Grey Nicker is dioecious, with male & female flowers occurring on different individuals. The one in Lazarus Island is male, while the other in Pulau Semakau is female (Lok et al., 2011), with others being unverified. The seeds being buoyant, are water-dispersed, and known to float for years. The seeds' tough exterior requires scarifying by weather, sand, or other elements before germination can occur.

Sprawling climber at Pulau Semakau's shores.



Unripe fruit, note the small spikes on the branch.

Ripe fruits, showing marble-like seed within.


Lok AFSL, Ang WF, Chong KY, Ng PX, Teo S, Yee TK, Yeo CK & Tan HTW (2011) The status of Caesalpinia bonduc (L.) Roxb. in Singapore. Nature in Singapore, 4: 43-48.

Author: Jake
Posted: 2018-12-05 / Modified: 2018-12-10