Know your Mangroves

Bruguiera cyllindrica, a true mangrove species, found in entire Southeast Asia and Australia. It is a representative of family Rhizophoraceae.

Bruguiera cyllindrica is an evergreen woody tree with haphazardly arranged branches. It grows up to 20 – 25 meters in height with buttresses and kneed pneumatophores. It usually grows on stiff clay behind Avicennia at the sea-face but can also grow on newly formed soils unsuitable to other mangroves, leaving better soils to the other species. Its bark is smooth and grey to dark black in colour with light green simple and opposite leaves. The leaves are somewhat elliptical in shape. A three – flowered peduncle is present at each leaf angle. The greenish yellow coloured flower has 8 petals. The seeds of this plant germinate in slightly lobed berry type fruit. The slightly curved hypocotyls grow up to 15 cm long and look like a green or purplish cigarette.

It is used as firewood and timber. Young radicles may be eaten as a vegetable or preserve after boiling. Bark produces a peculiar odour which frightens away fish. The tannin content is 18% – used for tanning fishermen’s nets and in leather industries.