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Looking-glass mangrove facts for kids

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Looking-glass mangrove
Heritiera littoralis Blanco2.341.png
Conservation status
Scientific classification
  • Amygdalus litoralis (Dryand.) Kuntze
  • Balanopteris tothila Gaertn.
  • Heritiera minor Bojer
  • Samadera littoralis (Dryander) Oken
  • Sutherlandia littoralis J.F.Gmel.

Heritiera littoralis, the looking-glass mangrove is a large tree with wing shaped nuts, which is most easily recognised by the silvery scales on the underside of its leaves, which therefore appear green from top and white from below, although Litsea mellifera A.C. Smith (in the family Lauraceae), has the same type of leaves. The tree is usually found to grow along the seashore in Bangladesh & Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia and Tropical Africa.

The tree's tough wood has historically been used in boat-building. The fruits of the tree (known as dungon locally), are also used in Philippine cuisine for kinilaw.

Common names

Native names for the tree include:

  • Bengali – sundari (সুন্দরী) (সুন্দরি)
  • Bahasa Indonesia – dungun kecil, dungun laut
  • Filipino - dungon
  • Hindi – sundari (सुंदरी)
  • Japanese – sakishimasuōnoki (サキシマスオウノキ)
  • Malay – pokok dungun
  • Sinhala – etuna (ඇටුන) / ho mediriya (හෝ මැදිරිය)
  • Tongan – mamaea
  • Vietnamese – cui biển
  • Visayan – dungon
  • Maldivian – ކަހަރުވައް (kaharuvah)
  • Chamorro - ufa


The tree is harvested for timber and is valued for its toughness, durability, and resistance to saltwater. As such, it is commonly used in shipbuilding and in making pilings, bridges, and wharves.

The fruit of species in the genus is used in Philippine cuisine to neutralize the fishy taste in kinilaw, a local dish of raw fish in vinegar or citrus juices. Another species used this way is the fruits of the tabon-tabon tree (Atuna racemosa).


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