Rhizophora mangle   L.  (Mangrove Plant)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Equisetopsida

Image copyrights: Ulf Mehlig

Size: Height between 5-20m and a trunk diameter between 20-50cm. Leaf width 2.5-6cm and length 6-12cm.

Color: The bark is gray to brown, thin when a sapling, becoming thick and furrowed with maturity. Leaf tops dark green, glossy to glabrous, with undersides yellow-green with black dots and no visible veination.

Rhizophora mangle is a small aquatic tree or shrub. The leaves are evergreen, opposite, simple, entire, elliptical, thick and leathery. Prop roots originate from the stem or trunk of the plant about 2-4.5m high and function in stabilizing the plant in the ground and facilitate gas exchange for respiration during periods when it is complete. lt is submersed in standing water.

It is hemaphroditic, containing both male and female sex organs . The main dispersal mechanism for the pollen is through the wind, which results in the mangrove self-pollinating quite readily, leading to inbreeding depressions within the population. Eight stalkless stamens, with a slender style and two-lobed stigma.

Flower production is continuous throughout the year, with a peak in flower production during the wet season in equatorial regions, and during early spring and summer for temperate regions. Flower production is not dependent on day-length. The fruit is a berry, also known as a propagule and is dark brown, ovoid to cylindrical or cigar shaped. No dormnacy or seed phase occurs. The embryo is in continuous development and germinates while still on the parent plant, a process called vivipary. Embryo development can continue during cold periods, albeit reduced, in temperate regions. A high rate of propagule production has been observed, making establishment and population levels rise quickly. Propagules are dispersed by release from the mother plant, through physical forces such as severe storm or though seasonal flooding patterns or tidal forces. The seed can remain viable, afloat in salt water, for up to a year before establishing itself on a suitable substrate. Vegetative reproduction through coppicing and suckers is possible but not common for the red mangrove.

Synonym (s)

Common Name (s)
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial, Ecosystem balance
(Timber, building materials, fencing, firewood, charcoal, medicines, tannins for staining and leather making, hunting, salt extraction and for habitat for commercial fisheries and aquaculture. Extracts made from the bark can reduce gastric ulcers, has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.
It is also used for ecological and landscape maintenance and stabilization of coastal mudlfats and reduce erosion rates.)

Habitat:  Estuarine, Coastal


• Maharashtra INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Pichavaram Mangrove Forest INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • (2002) MangroveIndia Available at - http://www.mangroveindia.org
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at - http://www.marinespecies.org
  • Global invasive species database Available at - http://www.issg.org/database
  • Wikimedia Commons Available at - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

Page last updated on:2010-08-30

Back to Search