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My name is Intsia Bijuga, a special member of the big mangrove family. Are you wondering why I‘m more special than my other siblings? Then, please read my story, and you will know more about myself, dear Friends!

I. Who am I?

My scientific name is Intsia Bijuga. Interestingly, my Vietnamese name is Gõ Nước while in other countries, they call me in different names such as Borneo teak, kwila, vesi, Johnston river teak, Ipil, Ifit, merbau. Wow, lots of names!

Well, I’m a member of the Fabaceae flowering tree family, and living inland where high salinity happens. And that’s my special feature! I can, sometimes, tolerate floods. In comprarison with my other mangrove siblings, I have to give up with long or recurring floods, but I’m a hero in living with high salinity.

I’m sure that you can guess the reason of our different names in different languages? Because we have been present in many places such as East Africa, Southeast Asia, Australia, or even Pacific islands, the local people named us in their own languages.

Unfortunately, in Vietnam, there are less of us. In my memory, the year 2021 saw less than 100 of us who were living in Long Vinh commune, Duyen Hai district, Tra Vinh province.

II. How do I look?

1. Seeds:

Well, I grow up from seeds, then become seedlings, and finally mature at the height up to 50m, the breast diameter up to 250cm.

My seeds are very hard and big! When the seeds are ripen, their colors are brown or black. Just look at these cute seeds, do you love them?

2. Fruit:

My fruit is woody, oblong shaped or pear shaped, 15 cm – 20cm long and 5cm wide. My fruit is leathery, tardily dehiscent, and normally contains from 1 to 9 seeds inside.

You should not eat our fruits because they taste very sour. Eating too many of them can make you poisoned.

3. My trunk:

My trunk is woody and has grey color.  

4. My leaves:

My leaves are spirally arranged, stalked. Each stalk has from one to three pairs of thinly leaves which are opposite. Each leaf is broadly oval, egg – shaped or drop – shaped.

5. My flowers:

My flowers are in flowering shoots (inflorescences) that are up to 17 cm long. My flower pinks are white or pink, and bisexual.

6. Where can you find us?

We love sun, and always live with our mangrove family together. That is at the landward zone of mangrove forests, where we usually appear behind our brothers of Rhizophora Apiculata, Avicennia Alba, or Bruguiera Gynorrhiza, etc…

However, you can find us as the roadside trees, or in other saline soils.

III. Benefits can we, Intsia Bijuga, bring to you?

Friends, I’m a doctor! Why? Let’s read over the illness that I can treat: my bark has been relied upon for traditional medical treatments in different cultures, including Vietnam, to treat rheumatism, dysentery, diarrhea and urinary issues.


And in Fiji, I was even considered sacred, and bowls were made with my wood to serve the island’s traditional beverage, yogona.

Moreover, my roots are also very useful for the ecosystem, or we are the warrriors in this part. Our roots protect the soil along waterways, alongside mangroves, and safeguard against erosion and wind damage; our roots serves as a source of nitrogen fixation which improves soil quality.


Look at my trunk, that’s good shelters for nesting birds as well as a food source for pollinators. They are our siblings supporting together.

When someone mentions us, no one denies our economic values! Let’s see with me now:

  • My trunk is very durable and water proof. That’s why I am popularly used in construction projects. In Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, people use my limber to make bridges, railway cars, houses and furniture, in addition to home goods such as utensils, walking sticks and ornamental carvings. Numerous seafaring cultures have relied on it to construct masts, hulls and oars in addition to canoes.

  • My wood is prized as a luxury material for flooring, furniture and musical instruments. Gold flecks that occur naturally in the reddish timber make ourselves particularly popular amongst Chinese consumers, who have increased export demand across the region.

IV. How about our current situation?

Well, we have a sad past story to tell. Because we are famous and loved by everyone, we are endangered. Even the IUCN categorizes us in as the “vulnerable” species in their Red List.

You know, in Tra Vinh, there were less than 100 our brothers and sisters two years ago. And it was hardly to find any of us in Long An, Tien Giang, Ben Tre, Soc Trang or Bac Lieu. We felt very lonely!!!!

Fortunately, our best friend, MangLub VN, saved us in 2021 by setting up one nursery of our brothers & sisters through SK Innovation, another friends. And Gemalink, an international port in Vung Tau city, sponsored to plant us in Long Vinh commune, Duyen Hai district, Tra Vinh province in June 2022. Thanks to these friends, our Intsia Bijuga family, once again, became as crowded as other families.

So, my story ends here! I’m proud of telling you the story of our interesting lives. Friends, we need your support and protection. Please let protect us! Thank you very much!

Written by MangLub VN team. Some details were taken from the link

The comic story is created to thank SK Innovation, the nursery sponsor, and GEMALINK, the 02 – ha planting sponsor.


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