Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Avicennia alba

Commonly known as Api-api Putih, this mangrove tree is native to Malaysia and the Pacific Islands.

The Api-api Putih is a mangrove tree that is relatively small and shrubby. It has a smooth, greenish-black bart that is finely fissure. The crown is dense and bushy, branching near the base of the trunk. It has shallow roots that produce pencil-shaped roots called pneumatophore that protrude out of the soil surface. These are aerial roots that play a part in gaseous exchange and removal of salt from the plant's vascular system. 

The leaves shiny green leaves are dark green on the upper surface and silvery-white on the underside. They are about 15cm long and grow in opposite pairs.

The flowers of the Api-api Putih are yellow to orange in colour, growing clusters to form a cross-shaped inflorescence. They small flower have four petals and a diameter of about 4mm when expanded. 

The fruits are a flat greyish-green capsule containing a single seed each. 

The heartwood of the Api-api Putih was traditionally used to make tonics while the bark and seeds are used as fish poison. The resin was used in birth control. 

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