|Kingdom Plantae | Division Spermatophyta|
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.
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.
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