Botanical name: Acanthus ilicifolius Family: Acanthaceae (Barleria family)
These mangrove plants have leaves which look like the spiny holly leaves. In fact, not all the leaves have the spiny edges that give them their common name. Leaves growing the deep shade can be totally spineless. Unlike some mangrove plants, Sea Holly do not exclude salt at the root level. In fact, their sap is salty and excess salt is secreted through the leaves, to be removed by rain or wind. Sometimes, the salt can be seen as a white crystalline layer on the upper surface. The plant produces a cluster of flowers which appear in neatly organized spikes at branch tips. Flowers have a single large petal large, showy and light violet. When the pods ripen, they explode to propel the seeds up to 2m away. The plants flower gregariously. Flowering: December-May.
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