A field guide to Kenyan mangroves


Xylocarpus granatum König 1784

Family: Meliaceae

A wide distribution occuring from East-Africa to Polynesia. In Kenya, individuals of Xylocarpus granatum ocuur sporadically over the forest, not grouped into a zone. Although known from literature as occuring on the landward side, some individuals in Kenya and Sri Lanka have been observed nearby the seaward side. One of the two species of Xylocarpus occurring in Kenya; see also X. moluccensis.

Light green in color, with a rounded apex, and on average 10 cm long and 4 cm wide. Petiole of the leaf is short and corky.

Root system
The above ground root system of Xylocarpus granatum is often absent in young individuals. Older individuals often display butresses, which cause enlargement of the trunk base diameter, and which extend into partially above-ground ribbon like roots.

The bark is smooth, unfissured and thin, displaying a pattern of light-brown to orange patches, caused by peeling of the bark.

The flowers of Xylocarpus granatum are very small (about 0.5 cm) and are white in color.


A big fruit ranging from the size of a big orange to larger, characterised by a hard, lignified capsule, in which several seeds (up to 16, Tomlinson, 1986) are enclosed.


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 copyrightŠ 2002-2016 David Gillikin and Anouk Verheyden
Created 28 August 2001

Updated June 24, 2016