Where seen? A carpet of this succulent plant is sometimes
seen on beaches and back mangroves. The tiny flowers are delicate
and pink. According to Hsuan Keng, it is found on clay soil near the
seashores. According to Giesen, it is found throughout Southeast Asia,
but not (yet) recorded in Borneo. 'Gelang laut' means 'Garland
of the Sea' in Malay. It is also called 'Sepit-sepit'.
Features: A spreading creeper
with many branches forming a carpet on the high shores of sandy beaches
and in back mangroves. Stems and leaves thick and fleshy. Stems up
to 1m long, smooth, sometimes bright red, and with roots at the nodes.
Leaves narrow spear-like (2.5-7cm) fleshy. Flowers tiny (0.5cm) at
the leaf axils, pale pink. The flowers close at night and when the
sky is overcast. Flowering occurs throughout the year. The fruit is
a smooth, round capsule containing tiny pea-shaped smooth black seeds.
The seeds don't float.
Small, pollen-collecting bees and day-flying moths pollinate the flowers.
Human uses: According to Burkill, the fresh leaves make
a very good vegetable, but only after cooking by 2-3 boilings as they
contain much salt. According to Geisen, in Thailand, this plant is
used widely as forage and feed for sheep, cattle and pigs and even
as a vegetable for human consumption.
laut on Singapore shores