Lumnitzera racemosa

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‘Black Mangroves’

Lumnitzera racemosa Flowers of L littorea and L rosea

Flowers of L. littorea and L. rosea

Flower and mature bud of L littorea

Flower and mature bud of L. littorea

Lumnitzera Australian distribution 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.

Lumnitzera world distribution

Key to Australia's Lumnitzera species

Community Volunteers

A key feature of MangroveWatch is its close partnership between community volunteers and scientists from the James Cook University’s Mangrove Hub. Together they are systematically recording basic data as video and still imagery for assessments of estuarine habitat health.

Armed with expert support, training and advice, MangroveWatch volunteers in key regions are actively contributing to the monitoring of local estuaries and shorelines. An important goal in this phase of the program is to develop a network of like minded groups with the aim of producing public documents that describe important issues affecting local estuaries and mangroves, and their overall health.

Getting Involved

If you would like to find out more about us or if you like to initiate your own MangroveWatch group within your area, please contact someone at the Mangrove Hub. We will be happy to help.

  • Mangrove Hub Facilitator
  • Dr Norm Duke
  • MangroveWatch Ltd
    ABN: 44 153 297 771
  • PO Box 1250,
  • Elanora Q 4221
  • Mangrove Hub Email

Mangrove Watch Brochure

You can download our fact and information sheet (see link below) to get more information about the MangroveWatch programs.

Mangrove Watch Brochure