Aegialitis rotundifolia, also known as the Round-leafed Aegialitis, is a species of flowering plant belonging to the Plumbaginaceae family. It is native to coastal and mangrove environments in the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and northern Australia. Aegialitis rotundifolia is commonly found growing in coastal areas, particularly along estuaries, tidal creeks, and the edges of mangrove forests, where it can tolerate high levels of salinity and sandy or muddy soils.
Aegialitis rotundifolia is a small, evergreen shrub or tree, typically growing up to 1-3 meters in height. The plant has a woody stem with a smooth, light grey to brown bark. The leaves of Aegialitis rotundifolia are simple, opposite, and have a rounded or oval shape, giving the plant its species name, rotundifolia. The leaves are thick and fleshy, with a glossy, dark green upper surface and a lighter green underside.
The plant produces small, inconspicuous flowers that are white or pale pink in color. These flowers are bisexual and are pollinated by insects. Following pollination, the flowers develop into small, round, green fruits that turn black as they mature. Each fruit contains a single seed that is dispersed by water or animals.
Aegialitis rotundifolia plays a vital role in the coastal ecosystem, providing habitat and food for various species of birds, fish, and other wildlife. The plant’s root system helps to prevent soil erosion and stabilize shorelines.
There is limited information available on the traditional uses of Aegialitis rotundifolia. However, like other mangrove species, it contributes to maintaining water quality and supporting a diverse range of flora and fauna in the coastal ecosystem.
Despite its wide distribution, Aegialitis rotundifolia faces threats from habitat loss due to coastal development, deforestation, and climate change. Conservation efforts are necessary to protect this unique plant and the vital ecosystems it supports.