Characteristics of Sea Mango Trees (Cerbera manghas) in the Wild

Cerbera manghas
Sea mango is a tree species that grows on the coast which spreads from Seychelles in the Indian Ocean eastward to French Polynesia.

Sea mango trees have been introduced to Hawaii and other tropical regions including Indonesia as an ornamental plant. Although the sea mango tree is considered an ornamental tree, it is also classified as a deadly poisonous tree, especially in the leaves and fruit.

Sea mango leaves and fruits contain cardiac glycoside cerberin, which is very dangerous if swallowed or consumed by humans. Even people in the past used the sap of the sea mango tree as a poison to hunt animals.

In Madagascar, sea mango fruit seeds were used in an experiment called Tangena, with the results often deadly. Whistler WA reported 1992, that sea mango was used for suicide in the Marquesas Islands.

Unlike in Madagascar in the past, sea mango fruit in the past was used to poison the king and queen. Because this fruit is too dangerous, some regions in the world such as Hawaii call the sea mango fruit with the nickname “suicide apple”.

 

Characteristics of Sea Mango Leaf

Cerbera manghas Leaf
Source : flickr.com/JJ-Merry

The leaves are shiny dark green, arranged in a spiral, and ovoid.

 

Characteristics of Sea Mango Flower

Cerbera manghas Flower
Source : flickr.com/koborin

The flowers are fragrant, pink or red, have five-lobed white tubules and have a diameter of about 3-5 cm corolla.

 

Characteristics of Sea Mango Fruit

Cerbera manghas Fruit
Source : flickr.com/wan_hong

Sea mango is egg-shaped, about 7-10 cm long, and green when it is raw then turn yellow when ripe.

 

Characteristics of Sea Mango Tree

Cerbera manghas Tree
Source : flickr.com/Ben Caledonia

Sea mango trees can grow to heights of 10-12 meters in the wild. The tree occupies a coastal area and is commonly found in mangrove forests.

WARNING: Leaves, fruits, and gums from the sea mango tree are very poisonous and must be avoided. Its use is only as an ornamental tree.

 

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