Halophila ovalis (R.Br.) Hook.f.

Etymology Genus Salt-loving; referring to its marine habitat
Species Oval
Family Hydrocharitaceae
Synonyms Halophila johnsonii Eiseman, Halophila ovalis subsp. ovalis
Common Names Spoon Seagrass, Dugong Grass, Paddle Weed
Status Native: Critically Endangered
Form Herb
Native Distribution Africa eastwards to the Pacific Islands


A seagrass with small oval leaves of about 2cm in length, Halophila ovalis the most widely distributed seagrass in Singapore shores (Yaakub et al., 2013). The leaves bears 8 or more pairs of veins. It bears some similarity to the rarer Halophila beccarii, the latter of which is more restricted to mangroves and have narrower leaves.

Interesting Facts:

Yaakub et al. (2013) noted local herbarium records of Halodule pinifolia and Halophila minor/Halophila ovata but the authors postulated these as variants of the Spoon Seagrass, aided by past genetic studies which failed to give sufficient support of them being distinct species.

The Spoon Seagrass is also said to be a staple food for Dugongs.

Sparse spread of Spoon Seagrass at Sentosa's sandy intertidal shore.

Closer view showing the petiole.

Close-up of the venation.


Yaakub SM, Lim LF, Lim WL & Todd PA (2013) The diversity & distribution of seagrass in Singapore. Nature in Singapore, 6: 105-111.

Author: Jake
Posted: 2018-12-04 / Modified: 2018-12-08