Acanthus ilicifolius 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Magnoliopsida Scrophulariales Acanthaceae

Scientific Name: Acanthus ilicifolius
Species Authority: L.
Common Name(s):
English Holy Mangrove
Acanthus ebracteatus Vahl variety xiamenensis (R.T.Zhang) C.Y.Wu & C.C.Hu
Acanthus xiamensis R.T.Zhang
Taxonomic Notes: Three species of Acanthus were recorded in the mangroves of South China, including Acanthus ebracteatus Vahl, Acanthus ebracteatus var. xiamenensis (R.T.Zhang) C.Y.Wu & C.C.Hu (Deng et al. 2006.) and Acanthus ilicifolius L. However, Acanthus ebracteatus var. xiamenensis has been combined with Acanthus ilicifolius in 2008 (Hou and Lu 2008). Only Acanthus ilicifolius is recorded in the Pearl River Region.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2010-02-21
Assessor(s): Juffe Bignoli, D.
Reviewer(s): Narasimhan, D., Gunaga, S., Kumar, V.S. & Juffe Bignoli, D.
This aquatic plant is locally common in the river banks or tidal canal sides or low swampy areas of mangrove forests from South India and Sri Lanka to Indochina, Indonesia, the Philippines and northern Australia, but scarce in Malaysia. It faces no major threats although the global population trend is not known. It is listed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Widespread from South India and Sri Lanka to Indochina, Indonesia, the Philippines and northern Australia, but scarce in Malaysia. Common in the mangroves of south China (i.e. Pearl River Delta, China).
Countries occurrence:
Australia; Bangladesh; Cambodia; China; Hong Kong; India; Indonesia; Macao; Malaysia; Pakistan; Papua New Guinea; Singapore; Sri Lanka; Taiwan, Province of China; Timor-Leste; Viet Nam
Upper elevation limit (metres): 5
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: It is widespread in mangrove habitats but no population information is available.
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It commonly grows on the river banks or tidal canal sides or low swampy areas in the mangrove forests and its vicinity.
Systems: Freshwater; Marine
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: No

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This plant can be used as medicine for neuralgia and rheumatism. Several authors have described the chemical properties of this species and its use  in China (Peng and Long 2006, Liu and Lin 2008). The root (boiled in mustard oil) is used in paralysis of limbs; water extracted from the bark is used to treat colds and skin allergies.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species is decreasing with destruction of mangrove habitats but there are no formal studies on species population decline.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: No conservation measures are in place. The plant is not considered to be in risk of extinction (Yu et al. 1998).

Citation: Juffe Bignoli, D. 2013. Acanthus ilicifolius. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T168780A6536949. . Downloaded on 29 November 2015.
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