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Index of flora
Index of fauna
Kingdom Plantae | Division Spermatophyta
  The Mangrove Trees
The extremely saline mud and exposure have caused the trees to develop features that are common in desert plants, e.g., thick, waxy and fleshy leaves. Some have breathing roots (pneumatophores) to help them obtain oxygen from the air since the mud is often waterlogged and highly anaerobic. These trees and their roots are vital in consolidating the mangrove swamp and act as breakwaters to prevent erosion.

Family Rhizophoraceae
Order Myrtales

Rhizophora is characterised by its stilt roots (left) and vivipary (right) (the retention of the embryos, fertilised fruits, on the parent, plant, obtaining nutrition from it until the seedling stage). They then fall off and implant themselves in the mud or drift off with the tides. This tree is the source of famous bakau wood which is very resistant to sea water and pests.

Bruguiera roots
Family Rhizophoraceae
Order Myrtales

The other genus is Bruguiera, which is easily distinguished from Rhizophora by its "kneed" pneumatophores. (Both reach heights of up to 20m).
Photo by Tan Hong Kim
Bruguiera calyx

Avicennia roots

Avicennia fruit
Family Verbenaceae
Order Tubiflorae

Both Avicennia and Sonneratia are common mangrove trees, especially Avicennia.

Both have pneumatophores, but can be separated by the lower surfaces of the leaves of Avicennia being paler than the dorsal, its flowers being small, orange or yellow, the fruit heart-shaped.

is able to secrete the excess salts through its leaves and hence maintain the osmotic balance. (Height up to 30m).

Sonneratia habit
Family Lythraceae
Order Myrtiflorae

Sonneratia has more oval leaves, the lower surfaces green, the larger white flowers with a long style, and the fruit globular. (Height up to 30m).

Sonneratia leaves and fruits
Shore environment
From A Guide to Seashore Life by Dr Leo W H Tan and Peter K L Ng
Published by the Singapore Science Centre and sponsored by BP

@Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research and Singapore Science Centre