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Barringtonia asiatica

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Barringtonia asiatica (fish poison tree,<ref name=sbwr>Template:Cite web</ref><ref name=grin>Template:GRIN</ref> putat<ref name=sbwr/> or sea poison tree<ref name=sbwr/>) is a species of Barringtonia native to mangrove habitats on the tropical coasts and islands of the Indian Ocean and western Pacific Ocean from Zanzibar east to Taiwan, the Philippines (where it is locally known as botong or bitoón),<ref>Template:Cite book</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Fiji, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, the Cook Islands, Wallis and Futuna and French Polynesia.<ref name=sbwr/><ref name=grin/> It is grown along streets for decorative and shade purposes in some parts of India, for instance in some towns on southeastern shore. It is also known as Box Fruit due the distinct box-shaped fruit it produces.<ref name=thiel2004>Template:Cite journal Accessed 2009-05-31.</ref> The local name futu is the source of the name for the Polynesian island Futuna.<ref>Smith, S. Percy. "Futuna, or Horne Island, and Its People". The Journal of the Polynesian Society, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 33Template:Spaced ndash52. 1892</ref> The type specimen was collected by botanist Pehr Osbeck on a sandy beach area on the island of Java, later to be described (and given the original name of Mammea asiatica) by Carl Linnaeus in his Species Plantarum in 1753.<ref name=trop3> Mammea asiatica L. (the basionym to Barringtonia asiatica) was originally described and published in Species Plantarum 1: 512–513. 1753. Template:Cite web</ref>

from Flora de Filipinas
Immature fruit (about fist size)
Flower

It is a small to medium-sized tree growing to 7–25 m tall. The leaves are narrow obovate, 20–40 cm in length and 10–20 cm in width. Fruit produced as mentioned earlier, is otherwise aptly 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 subpyramidal shape at its base. The fruit measures 9–11 cm in diameter, where a thick spongy fibrous layer covers the 4–5 cm diameter seed.<ref name=sbwr/><ref name=foc>Flora of China: Barringtonia asiatica</ref>

The fruit is dispersed in the same way as a coconut – by ocean current – and is extremely water-resistant and buoyant.<ref>Tsou, C-H., and Mori, S.A. "Seed coat anatomy and its relationship to seed dispersal in subfamily Lecythidoideae of the Lecythidaceae (The Brazil Nut Family)." Botanical Bulletin of Academia Sinica. Vol. 43, 37-56. 2002. Accessed 2009-05-31.</ref> It can survive afloat for up to fifteen years;<ref name=thiel2004/> it was one of the first plants to colonise Anak Krakatau when this island first appeared after the Krakatau eruption.<ref name=sbwr/> When washed ashore, and soaked by rainwater, the seeds germinate.

All parts of the tree are poisonous, the active poisons including saponins. Box fruits are potent enough to be used as a fish poison. The seeds have been used ground to a powder to stun or kill fish for easy capture,<ref name=sbwr/> suffocating the fish where the flesh is unaffected.<ref>Thaman, R.R. "Receptors Batiri kei Baravi: The ethnobotany of the Pacific island coastal plants Template:Webarchive." Atoll Research Bulletin. Vol. 361, 1-62. May, 1992. Accessed 2009-05-31.</ref>

Barringtonia asiatica is a common plant in the Malaysian Mangroves and wetlands such as the Kuching wetlands and Bako National Park.

Its large pinkish-white, pompon flowers give off a sickly sweet smell to attract bats and moths which pollinate the flowers at night.

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