Buttonwood Mangrove
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Buttonwood Mangrove
E Introduced Photo: Rakesh Singh
Common name: Buttonwood Mangrove, Silver buttonwood
Botanical name: Conocarpus erectus    Family: Combretaceae (Rangoon creeper family)
Synonyms: Terminalia erecta, Conocarpus erectus var. sericeus

Buttonwood Mangrove is usually a dense multiple-trunked shrub, 1-4 m tall, but can grow into a tree up to 20 m or more tall, with a trunk up to 1 m in diameter. The bark is thick and has broad plates of thin scales which are gray to brown. The twigs are brittle, and angled or narrowly winged in cross-section. Leaves are alternately arranged, simple and oblong, 2-7 cm long and 1-3 cm broad, with a tapering tip and an entire margin. They are dark green and shiny on top, and paler with fine silky hairs underneath, and have two salt glands at the base of each leaf. The variety sericeus has silvery leaves. The flowers are button-like, which inspired the common names, 5-8 mm in diameter, with no petals; they are produced in stalked panicles of 35-56 flowers. The fruit is a cluster of red to brown, small scaly, two-winged cone-like seeds, 5-15 mm long. The seed heads burst when ripe, and the seeds are dispersed by water. Buttonwood Mangrove is native to S. Florida to Peru and Brazil, W. Tropical Africa to N. Angola, cultivated elsewhere.

Identification credit: Rakesh Singh Photographed in SavarKundla, Gujarat.

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