Sceura marina Forssk.
Shrub, rarely attaining the size of a small tree, 1-3 (–5) m tall with pale branches. Pneumatophores 10-20 (—25) cm long. Leaves lanceolate to ovate-elliptic, coriaceous 3-8 cm long, 1.5-3.5 cm broad, very acute to acuminate, entire; glabrous and shining green above, whitish-tomentose beneath, turning somewhat blackish when dried; petiole short, 3-5 (—8) mm long, usually margined with a very narrow lamina. Flowers dingy yellow with somewhat orange throat, sessile, in heads at the apex of stout, angular peduncles and often with an opposite pair much down below on the same peduncle. Bract and 2 bracteoles concave, ovate to suborbicular, shorter than the sepals (except the bracts of the lowest flowers), ciliate; bract (2.5—) 3-4 mm long, 1.5-3 mm broad, acute; bracteole 2-3.5 mm long, 2-2.5 mm broad. Calyx 5-partite almost to the base, or sepals (3—) 3.5-4 mm long, 2.5-3 mm broad, broadly ovate to suborbicular, connate at the base, concave, obtuse, somewhat ciliate and tomentose on the back. Corolla c. 5 mm in diam., 5-6 mm long; tube very short; lobes 4, ovate, acute, subequal, slightly exceeding the calyx, c.1.5. mm in diam. Stamens 4, sub-sessile included, inserted at the mouth and alternating with corolla lobes. Ovary ellipsoid-linear, about as long as the tube of corolla, villous; style shorter than the ovary, 2-fid. Capsule broadly ellipsoid or ovoid, 12-18 mm long, 10-12 mm broad, compressed, ± apiculate, pale green or slightly greyish-tomentose; seed usually 1, large, often germinating on the plant (viviparous); embryo with plumule enlarged before falling.
Fl. Per. Feb.—June.
Type: Red Sea Coast: “Frequens in insulis & littoribus Maris rubri; dense crasit sylva ut aloera borealis orbis” Forsskal (C).
Distribution: Tidal swamps and creeks from Red Sea Area to Arabian Sea Coast of W. Pakistan and Bombay (India),.
It differs from A. officinalis L. and A. alba Blume, the S.E. Asian species, by its very acute or acuminate leaves, shrubby habit and slightly smaller flowers and fruits. A. officinalis L. and several allied taxa need a critical revision, specially with regards to leaf shape variations, flower and fruit characters, with adequate material. The bark is said to have tanning properties and leaves are used as fodder for camel and goats. It forms the dominant mangrove vegetation of Karachi coast or the Arabians sea coast of West Pakistan, but appears to be under collected in our area due to difficult approach to it through swamps and mud.