The two main species of Punkanda comes under Family Rhizophoraceae.
1. Ceriops tagal
This species is commonly known as spurred mangrove or Indian mangrove. The medium-sized tree is columnar or multi-stemmed growing with large buttress roots along with radiating anchor roots. The bark is light brown with a silvery-grey to orangish-brown tone. The obovate leaves are in opposite pairs, glossy yellowish-green above growing up to 6 cm long and 3 cm wide. The flowers are 1-2 cm with a short calyx tube. The color brown changes as the flower mature. The fruits are up to 3 cm long and brown at first, they change color as they mature.
2. Ceriops decandra
This species shows a close resemblance to Ceriops Tagal. It grows up to 15m as a shrub or small tree. The flower is relatively different to Ceriops Tagal. The trunk diameter reaches up to 30 cm. The bark is pale brown. The flowers are white. The conical fruits measure up to 1.8 cm long.HabitatThe growth rate of Ceriops tagal over Ceriops decandra has limited their habitat to the mangrove ecosystem in the Rakawa lagoon area.
The durable wood of Ceriops tagal is used in construction industry. It is also used to manufacture firewood and charcoal. The bark is used to extract a dye, which is used in Batik and tanning leather.
Penned By : Rtr. Kawmini Wijekoon