Just like most of the other mangrove species, large-leafed orange mangrove or oriental mangrove comes under the family Rhizophoraceae.
1. Bruguiera gymnorhiza
Bruguiera gymnorhiza is an evergreen species common in almost every mangrove ecosystem in Sri Lanka. The tree develops knee roots at the bottom of the trunk. Leaves are elliptic and somewhat large, and the back of the leaf is much darker. Flowers are solitary and white or cream in color. Petals are about 13-15mm with the flower being 3-4cm. The turbinate fruits are green and grow up to 8-12cm. The matured spindle-shaped fruit drops to embed in the mud and grow into a new plant.
2. Bruguiera sexangula
This species can be found in the mangrove ecosystems from Puththalama to Rakawa. Knee roots or Pneumatophores develop at the bottom of the trunk. Light green leaves are elliptic to elliptic-oblong and relatively smaller than Bruguiera gymnorhiza growing 2-4cm wide and 6-8cm long. Pale yellow to pinkish-orange flowers bloom solitary up to 3-4cm. 6-10cm long fruit is similar to Bruguiera gymnorhiza.
3. Bruguiera cylindrica
This species is an evergreen tree often grown as a bush. Pneumatophores grow as knee roots providing stability. Relatively small and greenish flowers bloom in 2-5 bunches. Leaves are about 2-6cm wide and 7-15cm long. The 4-5cm long green color fruit starts propagating while floating on the water horizontally.
Bruguiera gymnorhiza is used in Ayurveda for its medicinal properties. The trunk is used for multiple wood products. Just like any other mangrove species, Mal Kadol contributes to reducing the coastal damage. The extensive root systems provide breeding and feeding grounds for many fish and other marine species.
Penned By : Rtr. Kawmini Wijekoon