Cerbera manghas   Linnaeus  (Mangrove Plant)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Magnoliidae

Small trees, 4-6 m high, stem soft, glabrous with milky juice. Leaves alternate, closely set or whorled at the apices of branchlets, 10-15 x 3-5 cm, ovate-oblong or oblanceolate, acuminate at apex, rounded at base. Flowers large, bracteate, 3-4 cm long, arranged in terminal paniculate cymes, funnel-shaped, white with yellow throat, turning purple or red on ageing. Fruits large, 7-9 x 4-6 cm, globose-ovoid or ellipsoid, drupaceous with fibrous pericarp; seeds 1-2, each 2-2.5 cm across, broad, compressed, fibrous.

Flowering and fruiting from March-August.

Frequent along the intertidal banks of creeks and channels in mangrove forests; prefers and more frequent in situations inundated by more fresh water flow from the rivers and often in association with Heritiera fomes.

Synonym (s)

Common Name (s)
• Dakur (Bengali)
• Pani ambo (Oriya)
• Sakunu (Marathi)
• Utalam (Malayalam)
• Kadama (Tamil)
• Dakur
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial, Dangers
(Bark and sap (milky latex) are used as a purgative and for relief in rheumatism; a medicinal oil is extracted from the seeds.
The leaves and the fruits contain the potent cardiac substance (a glycoside) called “cerberin”, which is extremely poisonous if ingested. People in olden times used the sap of the tree as a poison for animal hunting.)

Habitat:  Estuarine, Coastal
Trophic Level:  Producer


• East coast INDIA
• West Coast INDIA
• West Bengal INDIA
• Orissa INDIA
• Kerala INDIA
• Karnataka INDIA
• Goa, Mandovi and Zuari Estuary INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, South Andaman INDIA
• West Bengal, Sundarban Mangrove Forest INDIA
• Orissa, Bhitarkanika Mangrove Forest INDIA
• Andhra Pradesh, Godavari and Krishna Delta INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Pichavaram Mangrove Estuary INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands INDIA
• Orissa, Mahanadi Delta INDIA
• Orissa, Bhitarkanika INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • Banerjee, LK; Sastry, RK and Nayar MP (1989) Mangroves in India: Identification manual Botanical survey of India, Calcutta, India Available at - NIO, Goa
  • National Tropical Botanical Garden Available at - http://ntbg.org/index.php
  • Debnath, HS (2004) Mangroves of Andaman & Nicobar Islands: Taxonomy and ecology Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh, Dehra Dun, India 133 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Rajendra N and Sanjeevi SB (2004) Flowering plants and fern in mangrove ecosystems of India: An identification manual ENVIS centre, Annamalai University, Parangipettai, Tamil Nadu, India. 110 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Veenakumari, K and Prashanth, M (2009) A note on the entomofauna of mangrove associates in the Andaman Islands (Indian Ocean: India) Journal of Natural History Taylor and Francis Ltd 43 807-823 Available at - http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/ftinterface~content=a909513066~fulltext=713240930~frm=content
  • Untawale, AG; Dwivedi, SN and Singbal, SYS (1973) Ecology of mangroves in Mandovi & Zuari estuaries & the interconnecting Cumbarjua canal of Goa Indian Journal of Marine Sciences NISCAIR 2 47-53 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Mandal, RN and Naskar, KR (2008) Diversity and classification of Indian mangroves: a review Tropical Ecology International Society for Tropical Ecology 49(2) 131-146 Available at - http://www.tropecol.com/pdf/open/PDF_49_2/05%20Mandal.pdf
  • Banerjee, LK and Roa, TA (2001) Flora of the Mahanadi Delta, Orissa Botanical Survey of India 1-307 Available at - NIO,Goa

Page last updated on:2011-11-23

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