Flowers of L. littorea and L. rosea
Flower and mature bud of L. littorea
Two species and one hybrid form of Lumnitzera are recognised in Australia’s mangroves across the northern coast from Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland. They are distinguished by petal colour, inflorescence position and position of the style within the flower corolla.
2 species & 1 hybrid in Australia
Flat, spathulate leaves with emarginate tips Lumnitzera Willd. (1803) is a member of the moderately large tropical woody family, the Combretaceae R.Br., of some 20 genera and 500 species. The family is characterised by flowers with an inferior, uni-locular ovary with usually two pendulous ovules, a well-developed floral disc, and one-seeded, drupe-like fruit (pseudocarp) without endosperm. Three genera, Laguncularia C.F.Gaertn., Conocarpus L. and Lumnitzera, are found typically in mangroves. Lumnitzera is the only one of these to occur in the Indo-West Pacific mangroves, including Australia. These genera are close relatives of an Australian upland genus, Macropteranthes F.Muell. ex Benth. Lumnitzera has two species of similar vegetative appearance, although they differ strikingly in flower colour. As such, L. littorea has red flowers and L. racemosa has white flowers. There is also a rare, reportedly sterile hybrid, L. X rosea, with pink flowers and other intermediate characters.
Derivation of Species Name
Named in honour of the German botanist, Stefani Lumnitzer (1750-1806), who pioneered the systematic description of Central European plants.
Lumnitzera is an Indo-West Pacific mangrove genus distributed from East Africa to the Western Pacific including Fiji and Tonga, and northern Australia. One species, L. racemosa, dominates the western part of this range, while L. littorea dominates the eastern part. Hybrid occurrences occur within the central zone of overlap between parent species.