Photo credit: Joyce Foo Ming Yen
Did you know the conical structures sticking out of the soil at the base of some plants help the plants breathe? These specialised root structures are known as pneumatophores and are usually seen in mangrove species.
Crabapple Mangrove (Sonneratia caseolaris), a mangrove species, develops pneumatophores that protrude out of the soil allowing root respiration in the anaerobic muddy soil. When growing on well-drained soil, the plant may not produce as many pneumatophores as there is little need for assistance in aboveground respiration.
In some parts of Southeast Asia, the pneumatophores are harvested and used as corks or fishing-floats when dried. The Crabapple Mangrove’s pest-resistant heavy timber is also used in construction, boat-building, for bridges, as well as to make posts and poles.
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