Characteristics of Santigi Tree (Pemphis acidula) in the Wild

Pemphis acidula
Santigi is a coastal plant in the genus Pemphis, in the Lythraceae family. This species was first described by J.R. Forst in 1775. Santigi is one of the trees that grows in sandy and calcareous soil.

This tree has a bush shape that can reach a height of 3 meters. Originally from tropical Asia and easily found along the coast of Indonesia, Indian Ocean, western Pacific Ocean, and the central Pacific Ocean.

When growing in China, the Santigi Tree extends to Taiwan and Japan. In Madagascar, the species that grows there is Pemphis madagascariensis, but in the taxonomy currently classified in the genus Koehneria.


Characteristics of Santigi Leaf

Pemphis acidula Leaf
Source : C. J. Lim

Leaves, twigs, and inflorescences are covered with fine hairs. The leaves are opposite, almost sessile, thick, elliptical to lanceolate, and 1-3 cm long.


Characteristics of Santigi Flower

Pemphis acidula Flower
Source : C. J. Lim

Regular, hexagonal, single or two santigi flowers appear on the armpits of the leaves. The flower crown is white or pink, consisting of 6 crowns.


Characteristics of Santigi Fruit

Pemphis acidula Fruit
Source : C. J. Lim

Santigi-shaped capsules, 4-6 mm long, when ripe will open and drop the seeds.


Characteristics of Santigi Tree in the Wild

Pemphis acidula Tree
Source : C. J. Lim

Santigi trees form shrubs with a height of about 1-3 meters, but this is also often found as high as 5-6 meters.


Santigi wood is valued, it is used traditionally in many cultures because it is hard, heavy, and resistant to rot or warping.

Generally, santigi wood is made into sticks, fences, tool handles, and anchors. Lately, wood and roots are used to make Aquascape designs, because of the nature of the wood that is resistant in water.

In the Maldives santigi wood is used in traditional shipbuilding and to make “nails”, which are special wood used in local magic activities.

On Marovo Island, Tonga, Tahiti, and other South Pacific islands, Santigi is used to make weapons and combs.

The santigi tree is also one of the species of plants most often used as a bonsai subject, especially in Asia.


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