Powderpuff Mangrove
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Powderpuff Mangrove
ative Photo: Prashant Awale
Common name: Powderpuff Mangrove, Fish-killer tree, Fish-poison tree, Fish-poison wood, Freshwater mangrove, Small-leaved barringtonia • Bengali: সমুদ্রফল samudraphal, kunda • Hindi: Ijjul, Norvisnee • Kannada: ಗಣಿಗಲತೋರ Ganigalatora, kanaginatora, kempuganigilu, ನೀವಾರ nivar, ಸಮುದ್ರಫಲ samudraphala, ನೀರುಕಣಿಗಲು Neerukanigalu , ನೀರುಗಣಿಗಲು Neeruganigalu • Malayalam: katampu, samstaravati, samstravadi, samudracham • Marathi: nivar, sadphali • Oriya: samudrapoo • Sanskrit: hijjala, nichula, nipa, samstravadi, samudrapad • Tamil: arattam, isudaru, isuvaradaru, kadambam • Telugu: kadapa, kanapa, samudrapandu
Botanical name: Barringtonia racemosa    Family: Lecythidaceae (Brazilnut family)
Synonyms: Eugenia racemosa

Powderpuff Mangrove is a beautiful mangrove tree, easily recognized by its large leaves, delicate pinkish or white flowers and guava-like fruit that hang in long racemes. It has a straight, unbranched stem that leads to a rounded crown and is usually 4-8 m tall, but occasionally reaches 15 m. The bark is grayish brown to pink with white blotches and raised dots and lines. The branches are marked with leaf scars. Alternately arranged leaves are clustered at the ends of branches. They are obovate, 18-32 cm long, 5.5-14.5 cm broad, with leaf-stalks 0.5-1.2 cm long. The midribs are prominent on the lower side of the leaf and the branching veins are visible on both sides. Showy flowers are produced on hanging racemes up to 1 m long. The buds are pinkish red and split open to bring forth masses of delicate stamens in pink to white sprays, up to 3.5 cm wide. The flowers give off a pungent, putrid yet faintly sweet odor in the morning. The fruit are quadrangular, 6.5 x 4 cm. Each fruit contains a single seed surrounded by spongy, fibrous flesh that provides the buoyancy that allows the fruit to be carried off with the tide. Powderpuff Mangrove is globally distributed from East Africa to West Pacific. Within India, it has been recorded in west coast from Konkan southwards through Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu often planted as ornamental. It is also found in Sundarbans and in the Andamans.

Identification credit: Prashant Awale Photographed enroute to Baratang, Andaman & Nicobar.

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