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Tropical Seashores  : Mangrove

Rhizophora apiculata

Tall-Stilt Mangrove Bakau minyak Rhizophoraceae

 

Bakau minyak, Rhizophora apiculata, Tall-Stilt Mangrove

 

Bakau minyak, Rhizophora apiculata, Tall-Stilt Mangrove

This mangrove tree is among the most commonly seen Rhizophora in our mangroves. It is gregarious on deep soft mud of estuaries flooded by high tides. According to Geisen it 'avoids' firmer substrates mixed with sand, and prefers tidal waterways with strong freshwater input. It can be dominant, forming 90% of the vegetation at a site. According to Hsuan Keng, they are common in mangroves and recorded for Changi, Jurong, Seletar and Bajau. It was formerly known as R. conjugata. It is also known as 'Bakau putih' (white Bakau) and 'Bakau tandok' (horned Bakau).

Features: Tree 20-30m tall. Leaves eye-shaped (8-15cm long), glossy green and stiff, with tiny evenly distributed black spots on the underside. Stipule is usually (but not always) red. Flowers appear in pairs on very short stalks so they appear to be stuck directly onto the branch. The bract is brown, hard and thick. The yellow to white petals are flat, membranous and hairless, falling off soon after blossoming. The fruit looks like a brown, upside down pear and is crowned by persistent sepals. The cylindrical hypocotyl can be up to 38cm long, somewhat smooth, green with purple. Bark dark grey and chequered. Conspicuous arching stilt roots that can extend 5m up the stem. Often also with lots of aerial roots emerging from the branches so that the tree appears to have a skirt of roots under the leaves.

Human uses: According to Giesen, the wood is heavy and hard and requires careful seasoning to prevent splitting but thereafter works and finishes well. It is used for foundations in piling, beams and the outriggers of dugout canoes, as well as furniture and interiors of houses. Branched stilt roots as used for making anchors. It is also used for firewood and making charcoal. It is sometimes planted to protect bunds and dykes. It is also used in mangrove rehabilitation and plantation forestry.

 

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