Aegiceras corniculatum (L.) Blanco
by Mrs. Avelinah Julius & Suzana, S.
Aegiceras corniculatum (L.) Blanco
by Mrs. Avelinah Julius & Suzana, S.

Aegiceras corniculatum (L.) Blanco is a true mangrove tree belonging to Myrsinaceae (or Primulaceae –Myrsinoideae), and is often found in association with Rhizophora species along the landward margin of mangrove that is inundated by high tides and the fringe of brackish waterways. It is a widespread and common species. Tomlinson (1986) reported it is widely distributed from Sri Lanka to South China through the Malesia to Polynesia and NE Australia to New South Wales.In Malaysia, it occurs in Peninsular Malaysia (Kedah, Pahang, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan), Sabah (Beaufort, Kota Kinabalu, Kota Marudu, Kudat, Lahad Datu, Sandakan, Semporna, Sipitang and Tawau) and Sarawak (Kuching and Serian).

Aegiceras corniculatum is easily distinguished from other mangrove plants by its horn– or crescent–like fruit with a pointed tip. The generic name Aegiceras is derived from Latin aigos = goat and keras = horn, and the species epithet corniculatum from cornu meaning 'with little horns' referring to the fruit shape. It is locally called kacang–kacang by Malays or saka mata by Brunei Malays in Sabah. The greenish fruit, 2–6 cm long is arranged in a terminal cluster and begins to germinate while attached to the parent plant.

It is a shrub or small tree to 6 m tall with a trunk 15 cm in diameter. The outer bark is dark brown to blackish, smooth to lenticellate and fissured, while the inner bark is yellowish or pale brown. The simple leaves are spirally or alternately arranged; the obovate blade is 3–7 × 1.5–8 cm. The leaf base is acute and the apex is obtuse or emarginate. The inflorescences are terminal with umbels of 5–25-flowers. The whitish flower is fragrant and conical in bud; the calyx (5–7 x 2–3 mm) imbricate and overlapping to the right, thickened at the base and covered with minute black dots from the base towards the central part; the whitish corolla is densely hairy inside the tube towards the mouth, the lobes are triangular–shaped and 8–12 x 5–7 mm; the four stamens (5–7 mm long) are attached to the corolla tube at the base and the anthers are dorsifixed.

Aegiceras corniculatum that is among the mangrove species that possess specialized salt glands on its leaves that concentrate and actively excrete the absorbed salts from sea water so as to regulate the salt concentration inside the plant cells. Many species with salt glands including kacang–kacang have leaves frequently covered by numerous white salt crystals.

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