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Laguncularia racemosa (L.) Gaertn. f.

White mangrove

Source: James A. Duke. 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops. unpublished.

  1. Uses
  2. Folk Medicine
  3. Chemistry
  4. Description
  5. Germplasm
  6. Distribution
  7. Ecology
  8. Cultivation
  9. Harvesting
  10. Yields and Economics
  11. Energy
  12. References


Branchlets are browsed by camels in Africa (Irvine, 1961). The hard heavy wood is used for carpentry, construction, posts and tool handles. The bark is used for tanning and for dying fishermen's nets. Considered a honey plant (Duke, 1972)

Folk Medicine

Reported to be astringent and tonic, white mangrove is a folk remedy for dysentery (Duke and Wain, 1981), Hager's Handbook mentions that the bark is used for aphthae, fever, and scurvy (List and Horhammer, l969–1979). "The antitumor activity of the bark extract is attributed to its tannin content" (Morton, 1981).


Bark contains 10.3% tannin, gall's 10.7%, leaves 16.8%. Irvine (1961) puts the bark tannin at 12–24%, dry leaf tannin at 10 20%. According to Hager's Handbook, (List and Horhammer, 1969–1979), the bark contains maclurin (C13H10O6).


Evergreen tree to 12 m tall and 30 cm diameter, with rounded or irregular spreading crown. Bark gray-brown, becoming rough and fissured; inner bark light brown. Pneumatophores often present. Leaves Opposite, elliptical, 4–10 cm long, 2.5–5 cm wide, rounded at both ends, entire, glabrous, leathery, slightly fleshy, without visible veins. Petiole 10–13 mm long, stout, reddish, with 2 raised gland-dots near blade. Panicles at ends and sides of twigs, mostly branched and spreading, 3–10 cm long. Flowers mostly bisexual ca 5 mm long, bell-shaped, whitish. Petals, 5, rounded, whitish, 1 mm long, and stamens, 10. Pistil with inferior 1-celled ovary with 2 ovules, slender style, and tiny 2-lobed stigma. Drupes several, stalkless, obovoid, 12–20 mm long, flattened, ridged, gray-green with velvety hairs when immature, turning brownish, Seed 1, large, sometimes viviparous (Little, 1983).


Reported from the African and American Centers of Diversity, white mangrove, or cvs thereof, is reported to tolerate diseases, insects, pests, salt, and waterlogging (Little, 1983; NAS, 1980a).


Both coasts of tropical America, northern Mexico to Brazil and Ecuador, Galapagos Island's and northwestern Peru. West Indies, Bermuda, southern and central Florida. Western Africa from Senegal to Cameroon. Not widely introduced elsewhere (Little, 1983).


Ranging from Tropical Dry to Rain through Subtropical Dry to Rain Forest Life Zones, white mangrove is reported to tolerate annual precipitation of 10.4 to 23.4 dm (mean of 6 cases = 18.0), annual temperature of 24.9 to 26.4°C (mean of 5 cases = 25.7), and estimated pH of 6 to 8.5. Surely it tolerates rainfall up to 80 dm and annual temperature down to 18°C, without frost. Usually in well-drained brackish or saline soils along shores of lagoons and tidal rivers (Little, 1983).


According to the NAS (1980a) planting is usually not needed because natural regeneration is so successful. In Avicennia and Rhizophora direct seeding results in ca 90% survival.


May flower and fruit precociously (less than 2 years old). Harvested for fuel as needed. After cutting, there may be a multistemmed coppice.

Yields and Economics

It is stated that Brazilian tanneries use a million and a half kilos of mangrove leaves (e.g. Laguncularia racemosa) annually (Morton, 1965).


The wood, moderately hard and heavy (sp. grav. 0.6), is used for fuel and charcoal (Morton, 1981).


Complete list of references for Duke, Handbook of Energy Crops
Last update Wednesday, January 7, 1998 by aw