Avicennia alba Blume

Avicennia alba Blume




A. marina (Forsk.) Vierh. var. alba (Blume) Bakh., A. officinalis L. var. alba (Blume) Hook. ex Jafri, A. spicata Kunth.

Vernacular Names

Malaysia Api-api hitam (Sarawak), api-api puteh (Peninsular).
Indonesia Ros-rosan (Javanese).
Philippines Api-api puti (General).
Burma (Myanmar) Lame.
Thailand Samae khao (Central), mae le, phephe le (Peninsular).
Vietnam m[aws]m tr[aws]ng.

Geographical Distributions

Along the coasts from western India and Sri Lanka to Burma (Myanmar), Indo-China, Thailand, throughout the Malesian region (except for the northern Philippines), the Palau and Yap Islands and the Solomon Islands.


This is a shrubs or small to medium-sized trees that can reach measures up to 30 m tall. Its bole is often crooked, branchless for measures up to 5(-10) m, measuring up to 60(-160) cm in diametre, without buttresses but often with small aerial roots and with numerous thin pneumatophores. The bark surface is smooth to shallowly fissured, lenticellate, occasionally flaky, grey or reddish-brown while the inner bark is whitish and produces a little resin. The twigs are usually swollen towards the nodes.

The leaves are decussate, simple, entire, slightly fleshy, usually greyish below and exstipulate.

The inflorescence is terminal or axillary, spicate or capitate. The flowers are sessile and bisexual. The 5-lobed sepal is enclosed by a bract and 2 bracteoles. The petal is an actinomorphic or slightly zygomorphic, bell-shaped, with 4(-6)-lobed and yellow or orange-yellow. There are 4(-6) stamens that alternate with the petal lobes and inserted basally or at the petal throat. The ovary is superior, 1-locular with 4 ovules in 4 imperfect chambers while the stigma is 2-lobed.

The fruit is a 2-valved nut, leathery, often beaked, viviparous and splits upon growth of the cotyledons.

The seed is 1. Seedling is with epigeal germination. The cotyledons are emergent where the outer is 2-lobed to emarginated while the inner ones are rounded. The radicle is with hairs that develop into secondary roots. The hypocotyl is elongated. All leaves are arranged opposite.

Ecology / Cultivation

Avicennia is a characteristic element of the outer mangrove fringe along the shore or tidal rivers. They are pioneers capable of rapidly colonizing new mud flats or sand banks in the tidal zone. Avicennia often occurs gregariously or in pure stands and is very tolerant of hypersaline conditions.

Line Drawing / Photograph



  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 5 (3): Timber trees: Lesser-known timbers.