Herbs & Plants

Avicennia alba

Botanical Name: Avicennia alba
Family: Acanthaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales
Genus: Avicennia
Species: A. alba

Common Names: Kalo Baine, Api Api Putih, Api Api, Grey mangrove or White mangrove

Habitat: Avicennia alba is a species of tropical mangrove. It is found growing in coastal and estuarine locations in India, Southeast Asia, Australia, and Oceania.

Avicennia alba forms a low, dense bushy crown often branching near the base of the trunk. The shrub does not grow more than about 20 m (66 ft) high. The roots are shallow and send up a large number of pencil-shaped pneumatophores. These aerial roots help with gas exchange and also play an important part in the exclusion of salt from the plant’s vascular system. The trunk has smooth, greenish-black bark that is finely fissured and does not flake. The dark green leaves, 15 cm (6 in) long and 5 cm (2 in) wide, have a silvery grey underside and grow in opposite pairs. The small, orange yellow flowers, borne in a racemose inflorescence, have four petals and a diameter of about 4 mm (0.16 in) when expanded. The fruits are greyish-green capsules and conical in shape with an elongated beak up to 4 cm (1.6 in) long. Each contains a single seed.

In the Malay language it is known as api api putih, api meaning “fire”, referring to the fact that this mangrove attracts fireflies, and putih meaning “white”, referring to the pale-coloured underside of the leaves.


Cultiivation & propagation:
Seed – there is no dormancy, but the seeds are normally sown with the fruit cover removed, because it is highly susceptible to fungus attack. Fresh seeds often have very high germination, typically more than 95%. Seed that has imbibed moisture will usually have radicle formation within 3 days from sowing.
Division of root suckers.

Edible Uses: The seeds are boiled and eaten as a vegetable and are sometimes available in local markets.

Medicinal Uses: A resin is obtained from the tree. It is used medically. An extract of the heartwood is used in herbal medicine to make a tonic, and the resin has been used in birth control.

Other Uses:
A. alba is a fast-growing species and is sometimes planted, along with Sonneratia and Rhizophora, to help prevent coastal erosion.
The timber from A. alba does not make good firewood or charcoal, but is used in the smoking of rubber and of fish.
The wood is moderately hard. It has an all-round use, e.g. As construction, poles, posts, furniture, boat building and for decorative purposes.
It is considered a poor firewood, but is occasionally used for charcoal.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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