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Avicennia officinalis


Avicennia officinalis L.

Family Name: Acanthaceae
Synonyms: Avicennia tomentosa Willd.
Common Name: Api Api Ludat

Avicennia officinalis, also known as Api Api Ludat, is a mangrove tree. It has large orange-yellow flowers that smell rancid. The leaves are oblong shaped and the underside are distinctly yellowish green.


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names
Species Summary

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants)
Plant Growth Form Tree (Medium (16m-30m), Small (6m-15m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic


Native Distribution East Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, Southeast Asia, including Singapore, New Guinea, southern Australia
Native Habitat Shoreline (Mangrove Forest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Least Concern (LC))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a medium size tree, usually reaching up to 12 - 15 m, sometimes 20 m. 
Trunk Bark is yellowish-green to brownish-grey colour, smooth with lenticels,
Roots It has thin, pencil-like pneumatophores which are covered with lenticels. The pneumatophores that protrude out of the soil allowing root respiration in the anaerobic muddy soil. Aerial stilt roots may also develop.
Foliage Obovate or obovate-oblong leaves with a rounded top, dark green above and yellowish-green underneath, measuring up to 12.5 by 6 cm. The leaves are arranged in simple, opposite decussate manner. Upper surface is covered with many glandular dots. 
Flowers Orange-yellow flowers measuring 10 - 15 mm across, rancid smelling and covered with short, soft hairs on both surfaces. Stamens are longer than the corolla, ovary covered with short dense hairs and tips of petals unfold irregularly and blacken with age. 
Fruit Fruit is densely covered with short hairs, broadly ovate with a short apical beak, measuring about 3 cm. All Avicennia species exhibit crytovivipary, in which the embryo germinates within the fruit but does not enlarge sufficiently to break through the fruit wall.
Habitat Found in the intermediate estuarine zone in the lower intertidal region. Occurring in the landward margins of mangrove swamps, usually along tidal river banks and river mouths.
Etymology Avicennia is named in honour of the Persian physician, Avicenna (980 - 1037).
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts : Edible Fruits
Timber & Products: Wood is used as fuel and resin in bark is used as a contraceptive.

Landscaping Features

Landscape Uses Coastal, Riverine
SGMP Treatment

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)
Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic (Water)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun, Semi-Shade
Water Preference Lots of Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Waterlogged Soils, Saline Soils / Salt Spray, Fertile Loamy Soils
Potential Problems Sooty mold and scale insects.
Propagation Method Viviparious Propagule


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire

Non - Foliar and Storage

Mature Bark Texture Smooth

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Orange, Yellow / Golden
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence

Image Repository



Master ID 1975
Species ID 3267
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 14 October 2021.