Rhizophora stylosa

Go Back


‘Stilt Mangroves’

Rhizophora genus Propagules of R stylosa and R. apiculata

3 species & 1 hybrid in Australia

Rhizophora L. (1753) is a pantropic genus, and key member of the small family Rhizophoraceae R.Br., known as ‘the mangrove family’. The family consists of 16 genera and around 120 species of trees and shrubs. Four genera are found exclusively in the mangroves and these are conspicuously viviparous, including Bruguiera, Ceriops, Kandelia (DC.) Wight & Arn. and Rhizophora. These genera, and Rhizophora in particular, dominate mangrove forests around much of the world’s tropics. Rhizophora are distinguished from the other genera by their stilt roots, and flower calyces with 4 pointed lobes, 6-16 stamens, and the separate fruiting body and viviparous propagule. The genus consists of two broad regional groupings of species, including: the Indo-West Pacific ‘stilt’ mangroves, R. mucronata, R. stylosa, R. X lamarckii, R. X annamalayana Kathiresan and R. apiculata; and the Atlantic East Pacific ‘red’ mangroves. Rhizophora mangroves have similar shaped leaves but stilt species are readily distinguished from red mangroves by a prominent spiked, mucronate tip at the leaf apex, instead of a blunt recurved tip.

Derivation of Genus Name

‘Rhizo-phora’ means root bearing (in Greek), and refers to the characteristic stilt roots of this genus.


Rhizophora are widely distributed along tropical and subtropical coastlines from east Africa across to Asia, the Malay Peninsula and the Philippines to the western Pacific Islands, and northern Australia. All Indo-West Pacific species of Rhizophora are found in Australia, that is, except for the hybrid R. X annamalayana, present only in India and Sri Lanka.

World Rhizophora distribution

Key to Australia's rhizophora species

Rhizophora species key

Rhizophera Australian distribution Three species of Rhizophora and one hybrid are recognised in Australia’s mangroves across the northern coast from Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales. They are distinguished by cork wart spots on leaf undersurfaces, style length, petal hairiness, hypocotyl shape, and relative lengths of peduncles and petioles.

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