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Aegiceras corniculatum

Aegiceras corniculatum Blanco1.38-cropped.jpg
Plate from Flora de Filipinas [...] Gran edicion [...] [Atlas I]..., 1880-1883?

Common Name

River Mangrove [1]



Name Reference

Aegiceras corniculatum (L.) Blanco

Origin of Name

‘Aegis-ceras’ means goatskin shield, horn-like (in Greek), and refers to the protective horn-like pericarp enclosing the developing hypocotyl of this genus. ‘Corniculatum’ means like a curved horn (in Latin), and refers to the characteristically curved fruits of this species [1].


Aegiceras corniculatum is a tall shrub with clusters of white, sweet-scented flowers and alternate, obovate (inversely egg-shaped) leaves. The leaves are often covered in salt crystals, which are excreted by glands in the leaf. The fruit are curved and pointed, germinating while still attached to the parent plant (known as vivipary). It is often found as a dense subcanopy on the edge of tidal creeks and rivers or on the landward margin of coastal habitats. It is distributed throughout coastal India and southern China, southwards and eastwards to Papua New Guinea and northern and eastern Australia.


Aegiceras corniculatum (River Mangrove) is a low, multi-stemmed, shrub or small tree growing to 5 m high. It has smooth, dark grey-brown bark, with small lenticels (corky spots). Roots are not usually above ground.

DSC 2824 3.jpg
Inflorescence of white flowers and leaves of Aegiceras corniculatum, Boondall Wet Lands, Brisbane, QLD.
Photo: M. Fagg, © ANBG
More photos...

The leaves are alternate, simple, spirally arranged, leathery in texture and hairless. They are elliptic to obovate in shape, 4-8 cm long, 1.8-4 cm wide, with a rounded to slightly notched tip and a wedge-shaped base.

The inflorescence is an umbel (short flower stalks of the same length spreading from a common point). The flowers are fragrant, 1-2 cm long with 5 white, reflexed petals fused at the base to form a short tube.

The fruit capsule is horn-shaped, 3.8-8 cm long, has a persisting calyx and is crypto-viviparous, enclosing 1 propagule [2], [3].

Botanical Description


Shrub or tree to 5 m, low muliti-stemmed, evergreen; bark smooth, dark grey-brown, lenticels small; roots not often above ground.


Leaves alternate, simple, rarely sub-opposite, spirally arranged, elliptic to obovate, coriaceous, glabrous, 4-8 cm L, 3-4 cm W, margin entire, apex rounded to slightly emarginate, cuneate at base; petiole short, 0.5-1.0 cm L, terete but slightly 2-keeled laterally.


Inflorescence either terminating long shoots or on short leafy or leafless lateral shoots in axils of foliage, simple umbels; bracts minute, 1-3 mm L, ephemeral; bracteoles absent; flowers perfect, pentamerous, fragrant, pointed bud with slender pedicel, 1-2 cm L; calyx lobes 5, free imbricate contorted blunt, asymmetric, remain erect; petals 5, white, pointed, twisted to the left, fused basally to form short tube, 5-6 mm L, reflexed at maturity, dense hairs in corolla tube mouth, shorter capitate hairs at base; stamens 5, opposite corolla lobes; filaments ~3 mm L, united below into a short tube; anthers medifixed; ovary 8 mm L, conical, single loculus, extended to long simple style beyond corolla tube, nectariferous at base; fruit capsule enclosing 1 propagule, horn-shaped, pointed apically, curved, 5-8 cm L, crypto-viviparous, persistent calyx.


Hypocotyl pedicellate, dehisces early piercing the seed coat to expose the green radicle curving away from the capsule wall, germination immediately on release epigeal; on the ground the radicle penetrates the substrate and elongates to lift the plumule.



Aegiceras corniculatum is widely distributed across the Indo-West Pacific from India and Sri Lanka through Asia to Polynesia and Australia. In Australia, the species occurs in most estuaries and embayments from Cossack, Western Australia (20° 40' S, 117° 12’ E) in the west, across the Northern Territory and Queensland, to Merimbula, New South Wales (36° 53' S, 149° 55’ E) in the east [1].

It is also found on Lord Howe Island [4].

Localities (not complete):


Aegiceras corniculatum is tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions and as a consequence is found across a range of tidal environments. It can tolerant varying levels of salinity and sunlight and grows in a variety of soil types [3]. It often occurs as a dense sub-canopy bordering on the fringe of tidal creeks and river margins, whereas in coastal mangrove habitats it is most commonly found along landward margins [2], [3].

Low intertidal, intermediate-upstream estuarine position [1].

Aegiceras corniculatum.JPG
Distribution of Aegiceras corniculatum in Australia.
Image: Australia's Virtual Herbarium, 2010


In Australia, plants flower from May to October, with fruit maturing from December to March. These events tend to occur later in higher latitude areas, particularly along the east coast into New South Wales [2], [3].

The sweet smell extruded from the flowers suggests they are bee pollinated [3].

Aegiceras corniculatum is generally known to be viviparous, although Saegner [3] suggests the embryos do not pierce the pericarp until the fruit has fallen from the parent plant, therefore it is not strictly viviparous. The propagule is suited to water dispersal due to its buoyancy [3] and the tendency for fruit to fall during periods of regular diurnal flooding [14].

Aegiceras corniculatum occuring in downstream locations is likely to cohabitate with Avicennia marina, Sonneratia alba and Rhizophora stylosa. In contrast, where it occurs in upriver, brackish waterways in tropical regions it is likely to cohabitate with Acanthus ilicifolius, Sonneratia caseolaris, Sonneratia lanceolata and Rhizophora mucronata [2].

Biological Interactions
Group Taxon
  37 taxa
Vascular Plants Acanthus ilicifolius
Vascular Plants Acrostichum speciosum
Vascular Plants Aegialitis annulata
Vascular Plants Amyema mackayensis
Vascular Plants Avicennia marina
Vascular Plants Barringtonia sp.
Vascular Plants Baumea juncea
Vascular Plants Bruguiera exaristata
Vascular Plants Bruguiera gymnorhiza
Vascular Plants Bruguiera parviflora
Vascular Plants Bruguiera sexangula
Vascular Plants Camptostemon schultzii
Vascular Plants Casuarina glauca
Vascular Plants Ceriops pseudodecandra [as _C. decandra_]
Vascular Plants Ceriops tagal
Vascular Plants Cynometra iripa
Vascular Plants Diospyros geminata
Vascular Plants Excoecaria agallocha
Vascular Plants Heritiera littoralis
Vascular Plants Hibiscus tiliaceus
Vascular Plants Juncus kraussii
Vascular Plants Lumnitzera littorea
Vascular Plants Lumnitzera racemosa
Vascular Plants Nypa fruticans
Vascular Plants Osbornia octodonta
Vascular Plants Rhizophora apiculata
Vascular Plants Rhizophora X lamarckii
Vascular Plants Rhizophora mucronata
Vascular Plants Rhizophora stylosa
Vascular Plants Samolus repens
Vascular Plants Sesuvium portulacastrum
Vascular Plants Sonneratia alba
Vascular Plants Sonneratia caseolaris
Vascular Plants Sonneratia lanceolata
Vascular Plants Sporobolus virginicus
Vascular Plants Xylocarpus granatum
Vascular Plants Xylocarpus moluccensis

Similar Species

Aegiceras corniculatum was so named for its distinctly curved, horn-like fruits when mature, distinguishing it from A. floridum Roemer and Schultes (1819) with its largely straight fruits. These species also differ in a number of other characters respectively including: inflorescence umbel or racemose, flowers sweet scented or sour-smelling, peduncle short (to 5 mm) or long (to 20 mm), pedicels long (8-12 mm) or short (4-6 mm), and leaves large (11 X 6 cm) or small (6 X 3 cm) [2].

-- EmmaClifton - 21 Aug 2008 and NormDuke - 19 Dec 2011
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Aegiceras corniculatum, immature crypto-viviparous fruits, Cairns, Qld. Photo: F.Zich © CSIRO

Aegiceras corniculatum.jpg
Aegiceras corniculatum inflorescences, Singapore. Photo: John Yong

Aegiceras corniculatum fuit.jpg
Aegiceras corniculatum fruit, Singapore. Photo: John Yong


  1. Duke, N. (2011). Mangroves of Australia. Manuscript. Vers.: 27 Sept 2011. (more)
  2. Duke, N.C. (2006). Australia's Mangroves. The authoritative guide to Australia's mangrove plants. University of Queensland, Brisbane. (more)
  3. 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)
  4. Green, P. S. (1994). Myrsinaceae. Flora of Australia 49: 149-153. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra. Available online: http://www.anbg.gov.au/abrs/abif/flora/stddisplay.xsql?pnid=5431 (more)
  5. West, R.J., Thorogood, C.A., Walford, T.R. and Williams, R. J. (1984). Mangrove distribution in New South Wales. Wetlands (Australia) 4: 2–6. Available online: http://ojs.library.unsw.edu.au/index.php/wetlands/article/viewFile/128/141 (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. Clarke, L.D and Hannon, N.J. (1967). The mangrove swamp and salt marsh communities of the Sydney district. I. Vegetation, soils and climate. J. Ecol. 55(3): 753-771. Available online: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2258423 (more)
  8. 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)
  9. 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)
  10. 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)
  11. Semeniuk, V. (1980). Mangrove zonation along an eroding coastline in King Sound, north-western Australia. Journal of Ecology 68: 789-812. Available online: (more)
  12. 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)
  13. Shine, R., Ellway, C.P. and Hegerl, E.J. (1973). A biological survey of the Tallebudgera Creek estuary. Operculum 3(5-6): 59-83. Available online: (more)
  14. Clarke, L.D. and Hannon, N.J. (1969). The mangrove swamp and salt marsh communities of the Sydney district. II. The holocoenotic complex with particular reference to physiography. J. Ecol. 57(1): 213-234. Available online: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2258216 (more)

Biological Interactions
Relation Taxon GroupSorted ascending
PreyOf Phoracantha_mitchelli Beetles
OccursWith Australoplax_tridentata Crustaceans
OccursWith Heloecius_cordiformis Crustaceans
OccursWith Helograpsus_haswellianus Crustaceans
OccursWith Macrophthalmus_setosus Crustaceans
OccursWith Mictyris_longicarpus Crustaceans
OccursWith Neosarmatium_trispinosum Crustaceans
OccursWith Parasesarma_erythodactyla Crustaceans
OccursWith Pseudohelice_quadrata Crustaceans
PollinatedBy Catopsilia_pomona Lepidoptera
PollinatedBy Delias_nigrina Lepidoptera
PollinatedBy Delias_nysa Lepidoptera
PollinatedBy Euploea_core Lepidoptera
PreyOf Hypochrysops_apelles Lepidoptera
PollinatedBy Hypochrysops_delicia Lepidoptera
PollinatedBy Hypochrysops_ignita Lepidoptera
PreyOf Hypochrysops_narcissus Lepidoptera
PollinatedBy Hypolimnas_bolina Lepidoptera
PreyOf Hypolycaena_phorbas Lepidoptera
PreyOf Macrocyttara_expressa Lepidoptera
PreyOf Nacaduba_kurava Lepidoptera
PollinatedBy Polyura_sempronius Lepidoptera
HasEpiphyte Dirinaria_applanata Lichens
HasEpiphyte Haematomma_persoonii Lichens
HasEpiphyte Heterodermia_obscurata Lichens
HasEpiphyte Hyperphyscia_adglutinata Lichens
HasEpiphyte Lecanora_helva Lichens
HasEpiphyte Parmotrema_crinitum Lichens
HasEpiphyte Parmotrema_reticulatum Lichens
HasEpiphyte Pertusaria_thiospoda Lichens
HasEpiphyte Ramalina_australiensis Lichens
HasEpiphyte Ramalina_exiguella Lichens
HasEpiphyte Physcia_erumpens [[Mangroves.][]]
HasEpiphyte Pyxine_berteriana [[Mangroves.][]]
OccursWith Bembicium_auratum Molluscs
OccursWith Cassidula_zonata Molluscs
OccursWith Ophicardelus_sulcatus Molluscs
OccursWith Phallomedusa_solida Molluscs
OccursWith Saccostrea_glomerata Molluscs_Bivalvia
OccursWith Littoraria_scabra Molluscs_Gastropoda
OccursWith Pleuroloba_quoyi Molluscs_Gastropoda
HasEpiphyte Bostrychia_calliptera RedAlgae
HasEpiphyte Gelidium_sp RedAlgae
OccursWith Acanthus_ilicifolius Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Acrostichum_speciosum Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Aegialitis_annulata Vascular_Plants
PreyOf Amyema_mackayensis Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Avicennia_integra Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Avicennia_marina Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Bruguiera_exaristata Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Bruguiera_gymnorhiza Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Bruguiera_parviflora Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Bruguiera_sexangula Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Camptostemon_schultzii Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Ceriops_pseudodecandra Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Ceriops_tagal Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Cynometra_iripa Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Diospyros_geminata Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Excoecaria_agallocha Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Heritiera_littoralis Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Hibiscus_tiliaceus Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Lumnitzera_littorea Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Lumnitzera_racemosa Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Nypa_fruticans Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Osbornia_octodonta Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Ottochloa_gracillima Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Rhizophora_X_lamarckii Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Rhizophora_apiculata Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Rhizophora_mucronata Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Rhizophora_stylosa Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Sesuvium_portulacastrum Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Sonneratia_alba Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Sonneratia_caseolaris Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Xylocarpus_granatum Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Xylocarpus_moluccensis Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Barringtonia Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Baumea_juncea Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Casuarina_glauca Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Juncus_kraussii Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Samolus_repens Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Sonneratia_lanceolata Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Sporobolus_virginicus Vascular_Plants