Pemphis (Pemphis acidula)

GenusPemphis (1)
SizeHeight: up to 11 m (2)

Pemphis acidula is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).

A typically sprawling mangrove species, Pemphis acidula may grow as a densely branched evergreen shrub or small tree. The succulent, pointed, grey-green leaves are arranged opposite each other on tough, woody branches. Pale greyish-white flattened hairs cover the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf (2) (3) (4).

The small, crumpled, cup-shaped flowers of Pemphis acidula are white or pale pink, and bloom irregularly throughout the year. Tiny, rounded, reddish fruits are produced after flowering, and each contains around 20 seeds (2) (3) (4).

Pemphis acidula has a wide tropical and sub-tropical distribution. It is found in East Africa and throughout the Indian Ocean, including the British Indian Ocean Territory, the Maldives, Mozambique, Tanzania, and the Seychelles. In South Asia, Pemphis acidula occurs throughout Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, north to Japan and as far west as Sri Lanka. Pemphis acidula is also widespread throughout the Australasian region and the Pacific Islands (2) (4) (5).

Typically found along shorelines, Pemphis acidula inhabits rocky and sandy beaches above the high tide mark. It may also be found in areas of elevated coral reef (2) (5) (6) (7).

There is very little information available about the biology of Pemphis acidula.

The current primary threat to Pemphis acidula is the collection of wild individuals for trade as bonsai ornaments. This species is also under pressure from a number of localised threats, including habitat destruction for coastal development (1) (5).

Furthermore, rising sea levels and climate change are increasingly threatening Pemphis acidula by causing damage to its habitat and disrupting mangrove ecosystems. Pollution and natural threats such as cyclones, hurricanes and tsunamis are also likely to negatively impact this species (1) (5).

There are currently no conservation measures specifically targeting Pemphis acidula, although it may be found in some marine and coastal protected areas (1) (5).

Recommendations for the conservation of this species include continued monitoring and research, and the inclusion of more mangrove areas within marine and coastal protected areas. In addition, Pemphis acidula would benefit from increased control over its use in the ornamental plant industry, as well as better regulation of the removal of individuals from the wild (1) (5).

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  1. IUCN Red List (February, 2011)
  2. eFlora - Pemphis acidula (February, 2011)
  3. Clay, H.F. and Hubbard, J.C. (1997) Tropical Shrubs. The University of Hawaii Press, Hawaii.
  4. Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Pemphis acidula (February, 2011)
  5. Global Marine Species Assessment - Pemphis acidula (February, 2011)
  6. Selvam, V. (2007) Trees and Shrubs of the Maldives. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok. Available at:
  7. Plants and Environments of the Marshall Islands (February, 2011)