Pemphis acidula J.R. & G. Forst.

Etymology Genus Swelling; referring to the fruit that becomes swollen when ripe
Species Sour; probably referring to the taste of the fruit
Family Lythraceae
Synonyms Lythrum pemphis L., Pemphis angustifolia Roxb.
Common Names Mentigi, Dakul, Bungor
Status Native: Critically Endangered
Form Shrub or small tree
Native Distribution Tropical Old World and Australia, including Polynesia

Diagnostics:

Pemphia acidula is a very rare plant found in coastal or rocky shores. The leaves are oppositely arranged and elliptic in shape. The secondary veins are hardly noticable. Both the leaves and young branches are densely covered with fine white hairs, thus having a smooth texture.


Interesting Facts:

The bisexual flowers have two forms, known as the "pin" and "thrum" flowers (Tomlinson, 1986). The pin flowers has stamens shorter than the pistil while the opposite applies to the thrum flowers.

There is now only one natural individual Mentigi in the mainland; growing on reclaimed land in Changi. A big bush at Changi Beach Park was killed by a storm in 2006. Prior to that, it was already badly damaged by reckless campers who "hanged clothes and built barbecue fires under it" (Tan et al., 2010).

Offshore, it can also be found in restricted islands of Pulau Biola, Senang, Sudong, and Salu.


The lone individual in Changi.

Bark from the trunk right up to the branches is light grey.

Leaves front and back.

"Pin" flower form. Note that the stigma is above the anthers.

The flower bud.

Fruit with a brown cap.

Removing it reveals a jigsaw puzzle-like cluster of seeds.


References

Tan HTTW, LM Chou, DCJ Yeo & PKL Ng. (2010) The Natural Heritage of Singapore. 3rd edition. Pearson Education, Singapore. 323 pp.
Tomlinson PB. (1986) The Botany of Mangroves. Cambridge University Press, Melbourne. 412 pp.


Author: Jake
Posted Date: 2013-02-16 / Modified Date: 2015-01-11