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Category: Mangrove Species

BlogEnvironmentMangrove Species

Matti Kadol

This is native to Sri Lanka. There are two species of Xylocarpus. They can be seen in Western and Northwestern mangroves communities of Sri Lanka.

1. Xylocarpus granatum

This species is commonly known as spurred mangrove or Indian mangrove. The medium-sized tree is columnar or This This is a medium sized evergreen tree with dark brown petiole and bark. Leaves are alternate and pinnate, and it turns orange -brown when drying. These compound large leaves have 1-3 pairs of leaflets. Flowers bloom on long flowering branches with 4 petals. Petals are round and the edges are overlapping. The large spherical fruit is about 17-25cm in diameter. And it has a croaky leathery covering which usually splits into 4 pieces as the fruit dries. Surface roots are compressed laterally forming a spreading network of ribbon like pneumatophores with the upper edges protruding above mud.

2. Xylocarpus moluccensis

This species grows up to 30m in height and the trunk grows up to 70cm in diameter. The flowers are creamy white in color and they bloom on long flowering branches. The round fruit grows up to 11cm and it is about the size of a small orange. The fruit it dark brown, compressed and wrinkled.

Use

Xylocarpus granatum barks are used in folk medicine. They are also used to make tannins and dyes. Both species are used as firewood and in making furniture. The seed oil is used as a hair-shining treatment. The roots are used to make paint brushes.

Penned By : Rtr. Dilrukshi Wijethunga

BlogEnvironmentMangrove Species

Heen Kadol

Aegiceras Corniculatum

This species is commonly known as spurred mangrove or Indian mangrove. The medium-sized tree is columnar or This plant belongs to the Myrsinaceae family. This plant grows up to 1-3 meters in height. The stem is branched, and the bark is grey-colored, soft, and glossy. This plant can be seen in mangrove communities in Kahamodara, Rakawa, Puttalam, Kalpitiya, and Chillaw. Leaves are small, about 3-4cm wide and 4-8cm long. Mature leaves are dark green colored. Flowers can be seen in clusters, and flower petals are white. Fruit contains two light brownish seeds, and they are viviparous.

Penned By : Rtr. Tamali Karunathilake

BlogEnvironmentMangrove Species

Punkanda

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.

Uses

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

BlogEnvironmentMangrove Species

Katu Ikili

This plant falls under the Acanthaceae family and the 2 most common species can be identified in Sri Lanka.

1. Acanthus Ilicifolius

This is a species that can be seen in mangrove swamps and other wet locations in Sri Lanka, and this is the only fern

This can be seen in all the mangrove ecosystems in Sri Lanka. This is a thorny shrub that grows up to 2m in height. Aerial roots are developed in the lower parts of the stem. Leaves have spiny edges. Flowers can be seen in clusters on an upright spike. They are 3-4cm in length and the flower petals are blue colored. The fruits are non-viviparous.

Acrostichum Aureum leaf has 24-30 pairs of leaflets and some of the larger fronds bear sporangia (reproductive organs) on the upper five to eight pairs of leaflets. These are brown and give the pinnae a felted appearance.

2. Acanthus Volubilis

This plant has the most similar features to Acrostichum Aureum and this is an endangered species in Sri Lanka. This This plant is limited to the mangrove ecosystem in Halawatha – Pambala area. This also grows up to 2m in height. Leaf-blades are smooth, usually without spines. The stem is purplish. Similar to Acanthus Ilicifolius, flowers can be seen in clusters. The flower petals are white.

Uses

These are used in folk medicine for different medical treatments.

Penned By : Rtr. Kawmini Wijekoon

BlogEnvironmentMangrove Species

Karan Koku (Mangrove fern)

Mangrove fern falls under the Pteridaceae family, and 2 most common species can be identified.

1. Acrostichum Aureum

This is a species that can be seen in mangrove swamps and other wet locations in Sri Lanka, and this is the only fern that belongs to the mangrove community. This plant grows up to 1.2-1.8m in height. This plant has pinnately compound leaves with small green-colored leaflets. Young leaves are brownish-green in color. Similar to other ferns, this plant also has a rhizome stem.

Acrostichum Aureum leaf has 24-30 pairs of leaflets and some of the larger fronds bear sporangia (reproductive organs) on the upper five to eight pairs of leaflets. These are brown and give the pinnae a felted appearance.

2. Acrostichum Speciosum

This plant has the most similar features to Acrostichum Aureum and this is an endangered species in Sri Lanka. This also has pinnately compound leaves which are about 1m in length. The leaves have a pointed shape.

Uses

Young leaves are consumed as curries(Karan Koku Curry) or salads. Roots and leaves are used in Ayurvedic medicine for different medical treatments.

Penned By : Rtr. Kawmini Wijekoon

BlogEnvironmentMangrove Species

Mal Kadol

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.

Uses

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

BlogEnvironmentMangrove Species

Mangrove Apple

There are four species of Mangrove Apple.

i. Sonneratia alba

ii. Sonneratia caseolaris

iii. Sonneratia griffithi

iv. Sonneratia ovata

Characteristics

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.

Distribution

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. 

Uses

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