There are four species of Mangrove Apple.
i. Sonneratia alba
ii. Sonneratia caseolaris
iii. Sonneratia griffithi
iv. Sonneratia ovata
Sonneratia caceolaris is the common Mangrove Apple. This has a close resemblance with the Sonneratia alba species. These can grow from 2-20m tall, and some trees tend to branch highly. The root system is well spread. Sonneratia alba can be differed from Sonneratia caceolaris by the cup-shaped sepal. The fruit is green in color. The roots of Sonneratia griffithi can spread about 10m from the tree. The tree is surrounded by thick, blunt pneumatophores (vertical roots arising from shallow, horizontal roots) – these can vary in size from 30 – 100cm tall. Sonneratia ovata is lightly branched than the other species and the bark is greenish brown.
Sonneratia caceolaris is distributed throughout Arid, Dry, and Wet zones, but most are found in the Mangrove Ecosystems of the wet zone. Sonneratia alba is commonly found in the Kalu river estuary and Madu river plant communities in Galle.
The ripe fruit is used in food production. Breathing roots are used for bottle bung manufacturing. This is used in folk medicine for its medicinal properties such as treating intestinal parasites and coughs, to make poultices. Due to its rapid growth rate, often used for the restoration of destroyed mangrove ecosystems.
Penned By : Rtr. Kawmini Wijekoon