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Aegiceras corniculatum

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Aegiceras corniculatum (L.) Blanco

Family Name: Primulaceae
Synonyms: Aegiceras fragrans König, Aegiceras majus Gaertn., Aegiceras malaspinaea A. DC
Common Name: River Mangrove, Kacang Kacang, Narikandam, Vethilikanna, 蜡烛果, 桐花树

Aegiceras corniculatum or River Mangrove is a short tree or shrub that grows to 6 m tall. It has elliptic to spoon-shaped leaves, pointed white flower buds which bloom into fragrant, 5-petalled, tubular flowers. The fruit is a crescent-shaped, single-seeded capsule which resembles a chili.

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Species Summary

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Tree (Small (6m-15m)), Aquatic & Hydrophyte
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Irregular
Maximum Height 6 m

Biogeography

Native Distribution Southeast China to Tropical Asia and North Australia
Native Habitat Shoreline (Mangrove Forest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Endangered (EN))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a low evergreen tree or shrub with multiple stems up to 6 m tall. The tree has smooth, greyish bark with lenticels and roots that run along the soil surface.  
Foliage Leaves are leathery, elliptic to spoon-shaped, measuring 4 - 11 cm long by 3 - 6 cm wide. The midrib is prominent below, tinged with red. Salt crystals are often encrusted on the leaf surface.
Flowers Flowers are borne in an inflorescence, found on both the tips of branches or at the leafless axils. At the budding stage, the flowers buds are white and pointed. The open flowers are fragrant, tubular, 5-petalled, dense hairs can be found at the mouth of the tube.
Fruit The fruit is a crescent-shaped, single-seeded capsule between 5 - 8 cm long resembling a chili. The seed germinates within the fruit while attached to the parent tree.  
Habitat Occurs in littoral muddy swamps and in mangrove forest. <1&3>
Associated Fauna Its flowers are pollinated by insects. It is the preferred local food plant for caterpillars of the moths, Anarsia species, Archips species, Darna trima, Gonodontis clelia; Phyllocnistis species and Zeuzera conferta.
Cultivation It can be propagated by the propagules. Propagules that are fully developed on the parent tree can be removed and planted directly into potting media.  
Etymology Greek aix, goat; Greek keras, horn, referring to the fruit’s resemblance to a goat’s horn; Latin corniculatus, curved like a horn, referring to the shape of the curved fruits of this species
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts : Edible Leaves
Food (Fruit & Vegetable): The leaves were eaten raw or cooked by the poor in the Moluccas in the past.
Medicinal: Scientific Evidence of Medicinal Properties
Based on research on the effects of River Mangrove on animals, it has these medicinal properties: antioxidant and anti-inflammation. <2>

Traditional Medicinal Uses
In Asia countries like Bangladesh, River Mangrove is used in traditional medicine to treat a wide variety of conditions, such as asthma, diabetes and rheumatism. <4>

It is important to note that some therapeutic effects from traditional medicinal uses of plants are currently not supported or verified by scientific research. 
Timber & Products: The wood is used as firewood.
Others: Women wear the sweetly fragrant flowers as hair ornaments. The bark and seeds contain aegiceras-saponin and is employed as a fish poison.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It may be suitable as a marsh plant for the edges of ponds for its attractive drop-shaped leaves and sweetly fragrant flowers. It is a rather slow-growing tree which needs minimal maintenance.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Fruits, Fragrant
Landscape Uses Coastal, Beachfront / Shoreline, Pond / Lake / River, Marsh / Bog
Thematic Landscaping Naturalistic Garden, Water Garden, Marsh Garden

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Caterpillar Moth Food Plant
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)
Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun, Semi-Shade
Water Preference Lots of Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate to Slow
Rootzone Tolerance Waterlogged Soils (Does not Drain Site)
Propagation Method Viviparious Propagule

Foliar

Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Leathery
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Alternate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Ovate, Obovate)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Rounded, Emarginate
Foliar Base Cuneate

Non - Foliar and Storage

Stem Type & Modification Woody
Root Type Underground (Tap Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Bisexual Flowers , Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) White
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary
Flower Symmetry Radial
Inflorescence Type Umbel
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Purple
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type Dehiscent Dry Fruit , Capsule

References

References

<1> Larsen, K. & Hu, C-M. (1996) Aegiceras. In: Larsen, K. & Hu, C-M., Myrsinaceae. Flora of Thailand, 6(2): 176−178. Bangkok: The Forest Herbarium, Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.

<2> Talat, R., Ahsana, D., Shamsher, A., Sabira, N. & Muhammad, I.C. (2008). A Study on antioxidant, free radical scavenging, anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective actions of Aegiceras corniculatum (stem) extracts. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 118: 514-521.

<3> Tomlinson, P.B. (2016) Aegiceras. The Botany of Mangroves (Second Edition): 302-307. New York: Cambridge University Press.

<4> Uddin, S.J., Grice, I.D. & Tiralongo, E. (2011). Cytotoxic effects of Bangladeshi Medicinal Plant Extracts. Evidence-Based complementary and Alternative Medicine: 1-7.

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Master ID 31049
Species ID 5436
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: 11 October 2023.
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