Pemphis acidula J.R.Forst. & G.Forst.
Shrubby Coral Pemphis, Small-leaved Mangrove
Lythrum pemphis, Macclellandia griffithiana, Mangium porcellanicum, Melanium fruticosum, Melanium rupestre, Millania rupestris, Pemphis angustifolia, Pemphis setosa
Pemphis acidula is a mangrove plant that can grow as a densely branched evergreen shrub or small tree up to 20 feet (6 m) tall. The leaves are succulent, grayish-green, and arranged in an opposite pattern on thick woody branches. They are pointed, narrowly elliptic or lance-shaped, up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) long and up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) wide. Flattened hairs are found all over the leaves. Flowers are small, cup-shaped, white or pale pink, and up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) in diameter. They usually appear throughout the year. Fruits are small, reddish, and contain around 20 seeds.
USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
The plant is sometimes grown as ornamental. There is a significant trade in seeds and live plants, especially in Asia, for growing it as a bonsai.
Shrubby Coral Pemphis grows on various soil, including fine coastal sand, coastal limestone rock, cliffs, coral conglomerate, limestone bedrock outcrops of atolls, etc. It can grow in places where seawater wet its roots regularly during the high tide.
It is propagated by seeds, wildlings, and roots suckers. Seeds are not directly sown in the field. Nursery-raised seedlings are used for outplanting. Mature fruits can be easily identified by their brown color, and each fruit contains 20 to 30 tiny seeds that can be collected by gently pressing the matured fruits. Collected seeds should be subjected to a floating test, and seeds that float are viable. Seeds may be kept soaked for one to two days before planting in containers. Nursery-raised seedlings 15 to 20 cm can be used for outplanting. Propagation by wildlings is relatively less successful compared to nursery-raised seedlings. It can also be propagated by planting straight stems with roots in suitable places. It needs to be pruned to get straight poles.
This species is found in coastal locations in the tropical areas of the Indo-Pacific.
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