Sunday, July 26, 2015

Holly Mangrove (হাড়গোজা ফুল) - Acanthus ilicifolius

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Bengali Name : Hargoja (হাড়গোজা ফুল), Hargoja (হাড়গজা ফুল), Harkuch (হাড়কুচ ফুল).
Common Name : Holly Mangrove, Sea Holly.
Botanical Name : Acanthus ilicifolius
Family : Acanthaceae

Holly mangrove is a plant from the sea shoreline and not found any other places (from the name 'mangrove' it is easily understandable). This plant is full with thorns (and interestingly at leafs too) but produces a cluster of beautiful flowers. It has another name that is Sea holly. In Bangladesh we call this as Hargoja (হারগোজা), Hargoja (হাড়গজা), or Harkuch (হাড়কুচ).

This plant is native to the South and Southeast Asian seashore and probably later introduced into the Australian region (or vice-versa). Binomial name of the plant is Acanthus ilicifolius. It pertains to the plant family Acanthaceae. Most of the mangrove plants discard the salt from the seawater but this plant keeps the salt in it. That's why the sap of the plant is salty. This is a medicinal plant and people from Southeast Asia use it to soothe rheumatism and neuralgia.

Sea Holly (হাড়গোজা) is an erect herbaceous plant that can grow around 0.5 to 1.5 meter in height. The stem of the plant is yellowish (or reddish yellow) and spiny. Dark green leafs are wavy and having thorn at the upper and lower peak of the wave. This happen when the plant is totally exposed to the sun. Leafs are arranged oppositely and having short petiole.

There is another plant named 'Holly' is having similar type of those 'exposed' leafs of Sea Holly. That's why the plant got the name Sea Holly or Holly mangrove. But remember, the plant doesn't produce such spiny leafs when it is in a heavy shade. So do not get surprised if you see two type of leafs on this plant at different condition!

Thick bush of Holly Mangrove (হাড়গোজা) that is nearly impossible to penetrate.

To me the Holly Mangrove (হাড়গোজা) flowers are delicately beautiful. They are showy and light blue or light violet in color. Blooms as a spike shaped cluster. Blooming season is December to May usually. Plant produces capsule like fruits those explode when ripened. By this way seeds can be dispersed around 2 meter from the parent plant.

This Holly mangrove plant is not a threat for the other plants but it is an invasive one. I have seen this plant growing massively around the mangrove area of our Southern Bangladesh. Those bushes are too dense and it was really difficult for us to move forward by avoiding those thorny leafs and stems.

Photos of this article were taken from Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ) as mentioned below:
1) 20 December 2014: Sonarchor, Patuakhali (সোনারচর, পটুয়াখালী).

This article has written by Lonely Traveler,
for the blog

ফুলের জন্য ভালোবাসা, আমি বুনো ফুল...

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