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 Post subject: Mangroves (Kadolaana)
 Post Posted: Sun Jan 29, 2006 6:54 pm 
What is so special about mangroves?

By Nimashi Amaleeta
@ WS / 28Jan2006


Have you heard of trees that 'give birth'? Have you seen trees with roots that are upside down? Or trees with branches that produce roots?

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Believe me, there are plenty of such trees in Sri Lanka. Trees with such characteristics are typically found in the coastal eco-systems and are referred to as 'Mangroves'.

Mangrove ecosystems (Kadolaana in Sinhala), are found in most places of the island including Putttlam, Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Negombo, Koggala etc. However, the largest mangrove ecosystem is found within proximity of the Puttlam lagoon.

Mangrove trees have many unique and queer features. For instance they have glossy and waxy leaves. Having glossy is an adaptation to prevent the loss of water through evaporation. However, interestingly, mangroves are found close to water bodies. Yet in most instances the water is very salty. Hence, it is essential for the mangroves to conserve the water within them. This is achieved in two ways.

1. The glossy leaves reflect the sunlight away from the trees. This reduces evaporation of water from the mangroves.

2. The salt excretory glands enable the mangroves to get rid of the salt in the water.

Mangroves have three kinds of roots. In order to stay stable and erect in marshy areas they produce trunk roots and stilt roots. Trunk roots grow downwards from the trunk into the marsh. The stilt roots, however, grow from the branches and grow down.

The third type of root is the pneumetaphores. They grow from roots underground and grow upwards through the mud. Since the water in marshy areas lack oxygen mangroves have developed roots which grow upwards to capture the oxygen in the air.

Strangest of all is the fact that mangroves show viviparity. Scientifically viviparity refers to the ability of giving birth to live young ones (like all mammals). Since the environmental conditions of a marsh are very harsh it is quite unlikely that a little plant can grow on its own. Therefore, mangroves are capable of producing a fruit which keeps on growing downwards and once it goes through the mud it grows its own root system. Then it slowly turns into an individual plant.

So you can see that mangroves are amazing trees, uniquely different from the rest!!


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