A field guide to Kenyan mangroves


Sonneratia alba J. Smith, 1819

Family: Sonneratiaceae

From East-Africa to Melanesia. In Kenya these trees occur at the most seaward edge of the mangroves, along more protected drainage creeks in muddy soils, as well as along less protected sandy beaches. They have suffered a lot of cutting in Gazi bay.

Obovate, with a width almost equal to the length, apex is often rounded or emarginated, but sometimes the apex shows a small pointed end.

Flowers and Fruits
Flowers are rather large (in comparison to the other Kenyan mangrove species), ranging between 2 and 4 cm in length. S. alba can easily be recognized by the numerous white stamens. Flowers open in the evening and are pollinated by bats. Flowers are usually already spent in the morning. Fruits are globous, up to 5 cm in diameter.

Pneumatophores reaching 1 m, but more typically 30 cm height are encountered in the mangroves of Gazi bay, Kenya.


Tomlinson, P.B., 1986. The Botany of Mangroves. Cambridge University Press. Cambride Tropical Biology Series. 413 pp.

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all text and photographs copyrightę 2002-2016 David Gillikin and Anouk Verheyden
Created 28 August 2001

Updated June 24, 2016