Characteristics of Perepat Tree (Sonneratia alba) in the Wild

Sonneratia alba
Perepat is a tree species that generally grows in mangrove forests. This tree has a large trunk and is often found living on rocks or beach sand directly facing the open sea.

Perepat trees spread from eastern Africa, Seychelle Islands, Madagascar, Southeast Asia, tropical Australia, New Caledonia, the western Pacific islands, and southwest Oceania. This tree is also known for its many local names such as Pidada, Bidada, Pedada, Kedada, Bangka, Petals, Barapak, Pupat, Posi-posi, Mange-mange, Muntu, Sopo, Susup, Bogem, and Wahat Putih (Indonesia), Bunayon, Buñgalon, Hikau-hikauan, Ilukabban, Lukabban, Pagatpat, Patpat, Palatpat, Palalan, and Payan (Philippines).

Good quality perepat wood with a durable texture in seawater is not easily broken and can hold pegs well, so it is often used to make boats. However, this wood contains salt, causing rust on nails and bolts.

In Minahasa, the wood is used to make traditional ingredients. The leaves can be eaten raw or boiled. Whereas in Maluku, perepat fruit is used as a spice for cooking fish.

 

Characteristics of Perepat Leaf

Sonneratia alba Leaf
Source : flickr.com/Dinesh Valke

Leaf perepat grows face to face, thick, inverted ovoid, 5-12 cm long, 3-9 cm wide, with a wedge base and glands in the base.

 

Characteristics of Perepat Flower

Sonneratia alba Flower
Source : flickr.com/Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Perepat flowers are unisexual, solitary or in a three-bud bouquet at the end of the twigs, and short-stemmed. The calyx is like a bell, often ribbed, with 6-7 rounds of 2-2.5 cm long, green on the outside, and red on the inside.

 

Characteristics of Perepat Fruit

Sonneratia alba Fruit
Source : flickr.com/dfjtees

The fruit is rather flattened round, measuring about 3 × 4 cm, many seeds, with the base protected by petals and crowned stalks of the pistil. Scented fruits are delicious when ripe.

 

Characteristics of the Perepat Tree

Sonneratia alba Tree
Source : flickr.com/Steve & Alison

Perepat tree can grow to a height of 15 meters and wide crowned with leaves that are rather rare. The bark is cream to brown, rough, and smooth cracked.

This tree inhabits coastal areas that are in direct contact with the sea, but usually, it grows in parts that are protected from waves directly.

The soil favored by perepat trees is mud and sand, sometimes also interrupted by rocks. The tree is not resistant to freshwater in the long run.

 

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