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Aegialitis annulata

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Aegialitis annulata shrub, Fannie Bay, Darwin, NT.
Photo: Greig, D. ? ANBG

Common Names

Aegialitis annulata Plumbaginaceae-Seram.JPG
Aegialitis annulata buds flowers, Indonesia. Image: John Yong

Club Mangrove [1]



Name Reference

Aegialitis annulata R.Br.

Origin of Name

‘Aigialos’ means seashore (in Latin), and refers to the coastal habitat of this genus. ‘Annulata’ means marked with rings (in Latin), and refers to the conspicuous leaf scars on the twigs and stems of this species ([1]).


Aegialitis annulata (Club Mangrove) is a shrub to about 2 m high that has a swollen, club-like trunk base and a petiole (leaf stalk) that sheathes the stem ([2]).

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Distribution of Aegialitis annulata in Australia.
Image: Australia's Virtual Herbarium, 2010


Aegialitis annulata (Club Mangrove) is a shrub or tree growing to 2, occasionally 3 m, tall. It has dark brown to black bark which is permeated with cracks and a swollen trunk base. Roots are not usually above the ground, although they can sometimes spread across the soil surface.

The leaves are simple, alternate, spirally arranged along the stem, broadly ovate (egg-shaped), 3 - 8.5 cm long and 2 - 7 cm wide with a rounded or slightly pointed tip. The petiole is up to 8 cm long and sheathes the stem.

The small white flowers are produced in bunches and have 5 petals and 5 stamens.

The fruit capsule is tubular in shape 4 - 5 cm long 0.3 - 0.4 cm wide and houses one crypto-viviparous propagule ([3], [4], [2]).

Botanical Description


Shrub or tree to 2 m, twigs terete with conspicuous annular scars; bark dark, smooth to fissured or flaking; stem base swollen, fluted, anomalous secondary thickening; roots not often above ground.


Leaves alternate, simple, spirally arranged, erect, clustered terminally on shoots, broadly ovate, glabrous, dull above, 6-8 cm L, 2-5 cm W, margins entire, apex rounded or bluntly acuminate; petiole to 8 cm L, grooved adaxially, extended basally with tubular leaf sheath completely enclosing the stem.


Inflorescence terminal, many-flowered, irregularly 1-sided cymes with pairs of opposite linear bracteoles; pedicel smooth, to 2 cm L being three-fourths the length of expanded flower buds; flowers pentamerous, perfect; calyx 7-8 mm L, tubular, fluted externally, 5-lobed with lobes bluntly apiculate; corolla lobes 9-10; petals 5, 8-10 mm L, white, imbricate, bluntly rounded lobes, fused basally to form corolla tube 2-3mm L; stamens 5, around 10 mm L, inserted on corolla tube alternately with petals, filaments 6-7 mm L, slender; anthers 2-3 mm L; ovary unilocular, superior, grooved below with lobes extending into 5 free styles, 6-8 mm L; fruit capsule enclosing 1 propagule, narrowly tubular, bluntly pointed, 40-50 mm L, 3-5 mm W, crypto-viviparous, calyx persistent; pericarp thin, thickened distally, dehiscent longitudinally.


Hypocotyl single, testa thick, endosperm absent, embryo elongated to 4 cm L, germination immediate, epigeal; cotyledons short, bluntly pointed enclosing plumular leaves within a profuse mucilage.


Aegialitis annulata is distributed from eastern parts of the Indonesia Archipelago, New Guinea to northern Australia. In Australia, it occurs in estuaries and embayments from Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia (21° 53' S, 114° 22’ E) in the west, across the Northern Territory, to Fraser Island, Queensland (25° 26' S, 152° 58’ E) in the east ([1]).

Localities (not complete):


Aegialitis annulata rarely occurs within closed mangrove communities, preferring wave exposure and tidal action mostly, but not always. Although less common, the species occurs also in mid-high intertidal mangrove, often in areas bordering highly saline open saltpan and saltmarsh ([1]). Found in soils from mud to almost bare rock ([2]).

High-mid intertidal, downstream estuarine position ([1]).


In Australia, plants flower from September to December, with fruits maturing from January to March ([4], [2]).

Ants are often found on the flowers and are probably pollinators ([3], [2]).

Found in association with Avicennia marina and Sonneratia alba ([2]).

Biological Interactions
Group Taxon
  23 taxa
Vascular Plants Aegiceras corniculatum
Vascular Plants Avicennia marina
Vascular Plants Bruguiera exaristata
Vascular Plants Bruguiera gymnorhiza
Vascular Plants Bruguiera parviflora
Vascular Plants Camptostemon schultzii
Vascular Plants Ceriops australis
Vascular Plants Ceriops pseudodecandra
Vascular Plants Ceriops tagal
Vascular Plants Excoecaria agallocha
Vascular Plants Heritiera littoralis
Vascular Plants Lumnitzera racemosa
Vascular Plants Osbornia octodonta
Vascular Plants Rhizophora apiculata
Vascular Plants Rhizophora X lamarckii
Vascular Plants Rhizophora stylosa
Vascular Plants Scyphiphora hydrophylacea
Vascular Plants Sesuvium portulacastrum
Vascular Plants Sonneratia alba
Vascular Plants Sporobolus virginicus
Vascular Plants Tecticornia halocnemoides
Vascular Plants Xylocarpus granatum
Vascular Plants Xylocarpus moluccensis

Aegialitis annulata is crypto-viviparous ([4]).


For ethnobotanical information see [2].

Similar Species

Aegialitis annulata is distinguished from A. rotundifolia by its dull upper leaf surfaces, short (7-8 mm L) calyx, and lesser number (9-10) corolla lobes. These species are apparently vicariant in distribution with no overlaps between A. rotundifolia in northern equatorial Asia, and A. annulata occupying southern largely tropical Australasia including northern Australia ([1]).


Lovelock, C. (1994). Club Mangrove ( Aegialitis annulata ). Field Guide to the Mangroves of Queensland. Australian Institute of Marine Science. Available online: http://www.aims.gov.au/pages/reflib/fg-mangroves/pages/fgm-3031.html

Capricorn Coast Flora: http://www.mycapricorncoast.com/plants/clubmyrtlemangrove.html

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Aegialitis annulata
F. Manson Bailey

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Aegialitis annulata seedlings, Seram, Indonesia. Photo: John Yong

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Aegialitis annulata, Seram, Indonesia. Photo: John Yong


  1. Duke, N. (2011). Mangroves of Australia. Manuscript. Vers.: 27 Sept 2011. (more)
  2. Wightman, G. (2006). Mangroves of the Northern Territory, Australia: identification and traditional use. Northern Territory. Dept. of Natural Resources, Environment and the Arts, Palmerston. (more)
  3. Lovelock, C. (1993). Field Guide to the Mangroves of Queensland. Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville, Qld. Available online: http://www.aims.gov.au/c/document_library/get_file?uuid=c9dcfc2e-6018-4302-8818-5ab3fe01f91f&groupId=30301 (more)
  4. Duke, N.C. (2006). Australia's Mangroves. The authoritative guide to Australia's mangrove plants. University of Queensland, Brisbane. (more)
  5. Brearley, A., Chalermwat, K. and Kakhai, N. (2003). Pholadidae and Teredinidae (Mollusca: Bivalvia) collected from mangrove habitats on the Burrup Peninsula, Western Australia. pp. 345-362 In: Wells, F.E., Walker, D.I. and Jones, D.S. (eds). The Marine Flora and Fauna of Dampier, Western Australia. Western Australian Museum, Perth, Australia. Available online: http://www.museum.wa.gov.au/dampier/documents/pdf/brearley.pdf (more)
  6. Bunt, J.S. (1982b). Mangrove Transect Data from Northern Queensland. Coastal Studies Series, Australian Institute of Marine Science AIMS-CS-82-1. Australian Institute of Marine Science. 41 p. Available online: http://data.aims.gov.au/extpubs/attachmentDownload?docID=2326 (more)
  7. Bridgewater, P.B. (1982). Mangrove vegetation of the southern and western Australian coastline. pp. 111-120 in: Clough, B.F. (ed.) Mangrove ecosystems in Australia : structure, function and management. Australian National University Press. 302 p. (more)
  8. Bunt, J.S. (1997). The Mangrove Floral and Vegetational Diversity of Hinchinbrook Island and the Adjacent Coast. Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville. Available online: http://data.aims.gov.au/extpubs/attachmentDownload?docID=3018 (more)
  9. Semeniuk, V. (1980). Mangrove zonation along an eroding coastline in King Sound, north-western Australia. Journal of Ecology 68: 789-812. Available online: (more)
  10. Thom, B.G., Wright, L.D. and Coleman, J.M. (1975). Mangrove ecology and deltaic-estuarine geomorphology: Cambridge Gulf-Ord River, Western Australia. J. Ecol. 63(1): 202-232. Available online: http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/2258851.pdf (more)

Biological Interactions
Relation Taxon GroupSorted ascending
OccursWith Aegiceras_corniculatum Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Avicennia_marina Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Bruguiera_exaristata Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Bruguiera_gymnorhiza Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Bruguiera_parviflora Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Camptostemon_schultzii Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Ceriops_australis Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Ceriops_pseudodecandra Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Ceriops_tagal Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Excoecaria_agallocha Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Heritiera_littoralis Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Lumnitzera_racemosa Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Osbornia_octodonta Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Rhizophora_X_lamarckii Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Rhizophora_apiculata Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Rhizophora_stylosa Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Scyphiphora_hydrophylacea Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Sesuvium_portulacastrum Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Sonneratia_alba Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Sporobolus_virginicus Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Tecticornia_halocnemoides Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Xylocarpus_granatum Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Xylocarpus_moluccensis Vascular_Plants