Barringtonia asiatica (Fish Poison Tree)

Scientific Name

Barringtonia asiatica (L.) Kurz

Common Names

Fish Poison Tree, Fish Killer Tree, Sea Poison Tree, Mango Pine, Mangobark, Putat, Sea Putat, Asian Barringtonia, Beach Barringtonia


Agasta asiatica, Agasta indica, Agasta splendida, Barringtonia butonica, Barringtonia levequii, Barringtonia littorea, Barringtonia senequei, Barringtonia speciosa, Butonica speciosa, Huttum speciosum, Mammea asiatica, Michelia asiatica, Mitraria commersonia

Scientific Classification

Family: Lecythidaceae
Genus: Barringtonia


Color: Pinkish-white
Bloom Time: Almost all year round


Barringtonia asiatica is a small to medium-sized tree growing up to 82 feet (25 m) tall. The leaves are narrow obovate, up to 16 inches (40 cm) long and up to 8 inches (20 cm) wide. The fruit is up to 4.2 inches (11 cm) in diameter, where a thick spongy fibrous layer covers the 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter seed. The fruit is known as the Box Fruit, due to distinct square like diagonals jutting out from the cross-section of the fruit, given its semi-spherical shape form from stem altering to a sub-pyramidal shape at its base. Its large pinkish-white pompon flowers give off a sickly sweet smell to attract bats and moths which pollinate the flowers at night.

Barringtonia asiatica - Fish Poison Tree
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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. It 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. See more at How to Grow and Care for a Sea Poison Tree (Barringtonia asiatica).


Native to mangrove habitats on the tropical coasts and islands of the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific Ocean from Zanzibar east to Taiwan, the Philippines, Fiji, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, the Cook Islands, Wallis and Futuna, and French Polynesia.


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