Tengra (Lumnitzera racemosa)
Tengra (Lumnitzera racemosa), also known as the Black Mangrove or White-Flowered Mangrove, is a species of mangrove tree belonging to the Combretaceae family. It is native to the mangrove forests of the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and the western Pacific islands. Tengra trees are commonly found in coastal areas, particularly along estuaries, tidal creeks, and the landward edges of mangrove forests, where they can tolerate high levels of salinity.
Tengra trees typically grow up to 8-15 meters in height, with some specimens reaching up to 20 meters. The tree has a straight, cylindrical trunk with smooth, grey bark that becomes fissured and rough with age. The tree is characterized by its extensive root system, including stilt roots and pneumatophores or aerial roots, which provide stability in the muddy substrate of the mangroves.
The leaves of the Tengra tree are simple, opposite, and elliptical to oblong in shape, with a shiny, dark green upper surface and a lighter green underside. The tree produces small, fragrant, white flowers arranged in racemes, which are elongated clusters. These flowers are bisexual and are pollinated by insects. Following pollination, the flowers develop into small, oval, green fruits that turn black as they mature. Each fruit contains a single seed that is dispersed by water.
Tengra trees play a vital role in the mangrove ecosystem, providing habitat and food for various species of birds, fish, and other wildlife. The extensive root system of the tree helps to prevent soil erosion, stabilize shorelines, and maintain water quality by trapping sediments and filtering pollutants.
The wood of the Tengra tree is lightweight, soft, and easily workable, making it suitable for various purposes such as construction, boat building, and the production of paper pulp. The bark of the tree has been used in traditional medicine for treating various ailments, such as skin diseases, ulcers, and rheumatism. However, the increasing demand for its wood and habitat loss due to deforestation, aquaculture expansion, and climate change has led to a decline in Tengra tree populations. Conservation efforts are necessary to protect these unique trees and the vital ecosystems they support.