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Bruguiera cylindrica

Bruguiera cylindrica propagules.jpg
Bruguiera cylindrica propagules, Singapore. Photo: John Yong

Common Names

Reflexed Orange Mangrove ([1]).



Name Reference

Bruguiera cylindrica (L.) Blume

Origin of Name

Named in honour of the French biologist and explorer, Jean-Guillaume Bruguiére (1750-1798), famous for his naming of molluscs, marine life and plant.

‘cylindrica’ means cylindrical (in Latin), and refers to the shape of the hypocotyl of this species ([2]).


Bruguiera cylindrica is a small tree growing to 23 m with small, knee like roots. In Australia, it is restricted to north Queensland mangroves.

Species Feature - Calyx lobes on flowers and mature fruits are notably reflexed and spreading ([2]).


Bruguiera cylindrica is a columnar tree growing to 23 m high. It has finely fissured, greyish bark. There are short buttresses at the base of the trunk and small, knee-like air-breathing roots (pneumatophores).

The leaves are simple, opposite, thin and glossy green, elliptic in shape, 5 - 17 cm long, 2 - 8 cm wide, with a bluntly pointed apex. The leaves occur in clusters at the end of branches. The petiole is often reddish and 1 - 4.5 cm long.

The inflorescence is often three-flowered and axillary. Flowers have a pale-greenish calyx with 8 calyx lobes, 16 stamens and 8 white, bi-lobed petals with 2 - 3 bristles on each apex and 1 conspicuous bristle in the sinus (indentation between the petal lobes) that is longer than the petal lobes. The viviparous propagule grows from within the calyx and is pencil-like and green, with a smooth surface. It is 8 - 15 cm long and 0.4 - 0.8 cm wide ([3] , [1], [4], [5]).

Bruguiera cylindrica.jpeg
Distribution of Bruguiera cylindrica in Australia.
Image: Australia's Virtual Herbarium, 2010

Botanical Description


Tree to 10 m, evergreen, columnar; bark greyish, finely fissured; stem with short buttresses; roots small, knee-like looping pneumatophores.


Leaves opposite, simple, elliptic, thinly glossy green, 7-17 cm L, 2-8 cm W, margin entire, blunt pointed apex, cuneate base; petiole often reddish, to 4 cm L; stipules paired, lanceolate, enclosing terminal bud, to 3 cm L.


Inflorescence axillary, often 3-flowered, peduncle to 1 cm L; flowers pale-greenish, erect at anthesis, 10-12 mm L; calyx tube turbinate, smooth, 4-6 mm L, 2 mm W, lobes 8 stout-pointed as long as tube; petals 8, creamy white, 3-4 mm L, shortly bilobed, apices with 2-3 bristles, sinus between with spine exceeding lobes; stamens 16, 2 enclosed in each petal, dehiscing precociously; style slender, stigma minutely 3-lobed; fruit within calyx tube, enlarged, turbinate, smooth, lobes completely reflexed, germination viviparous, hypocotyl emergent from calyx during maturation.


Hypocotyl pencil-like, terete, slender, green, to 15 cm L, 0.4-0.8 cm W, slightly grooved, buoyant.



Bruguiera cylindrica is distributed from India and Sri Lanka through the Malay Archipelago to New Guinea and northern Australia. In Australia, it is restricted to estuaries of north Queensland from the Jardine River (10° 55' S, 142° 13’ E) in the north, to Jeanie River (14° 40' S, 144° 55’ E) in the south east ([2]).

Localities (not complete):


Bruguiera cylindrica grows as a small tree in inner mangroves and occasionally forms pure stands that appear similar in appearance to those of B. parviflora ([2]).

Mid intertidal, downstream-intermediate estuarine position ([2]).


In Australia, flowering occurs mostly during June, and propagule maturation in November ([2]).

Pollen is explosively released when triggered by small insects visiting the flower ([2]).

Biological Interactions
Group Taxon
  10 taxa
Vascular Plants Acrostichum speciosum
Vascular Plants Camptostemon schultzii
Vascular Plants Ceriops pseudodecandra
Vascular Plants Ceriops tagal
Vascular Plants Lumnitzera littorea
Vascular Plants Rhizophora apiculata
Vascular Plants Rhizophora stylosa
Vascular Plants Scyphiphora hydrophylacea
Vascular Plants Xylocarpus granatum
Vascular Plants Xylocarpus moluccensis


No ethnobotanical information available.

Bruguiera flower comparative.jpg
The calyx colour is useful when identifying the different Bruguiera species. From the left: Bruguiera gymnorhiza (red), Bruguiera sexangula (yellow), Bruguiera hainesii (does not occur in Australia), Bruguiera cylindrica (yellowish-green) and Bruguiera parviflora, Singapore. Photo: John Yong

Similar Species

Bruguiera can be distinguished from other genera in the Rhizophoraceae by the number of calyx lobes (8-15). Ceriops spp. have 5 calyx lobes while Rhizophora spp. have 4.

Bruguiera cylindrica can be distinguished from other Bruguiera species by it's small flowers and multi-flowered inflorescences and petal spine longer than the petal lobes. It can be distinguished from other small flowered species, Bruguiera parviflora and B. hainesii, by its 7-8 fully reflexed calyx lobes. It can be distinguished from Bruguiera X rhynchopetala by 3 petal bristles > 2mm long. Bruguiera X rhynchopetala has 1-2 petal bristles < 2 mm long ([1]).

For illustration of the above distinguishing characters see Mangrove Watch Australia: http://www.mangrovewatch.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=35&Itemid=300173

Calyx colour is also a useful character to distinguish between Bruguiera spp. (see image). Not included are Bruguiera exaristata which has a green calyx and B. X rhynchopetala which has a calyx that is green or green with a reddish tinge.

Flora of Australia Online: http://www.anbg.gov.au/abrs/online-resources/flora/stddisplay.xsql?pnid=48121
Guide to mangrove species of Singapore: http://mangrove.nus.edu.sg/guidebooks/text/1053.htm

-- NormDuke and EmmaClifton - 2012-02-27 - 15:03


  1. Duke, N.C. (2006). Australia's Mangroves. The authoritative guide to Australia's mangrove plants. University of Queensland, Brisbane. (more)
  2. Duke, N. (2011). Mangroves of Australia. Manuscript. Vers.: 27 Sept 2011. (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. !McCusker, A. (1984). Rhizophoraceae. Flora of Australia. 22: 1-10. (Australian Government Publishing Service: Canberra.) (more)
  5. Ding Hou (1958). Rhizophoraceae. Flora Malesiana. Ser. 1, Vol. 5, (P. Noordhoff Ltd: Groningen.), pp. 429-493. (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)

Biological Interactions
Relation Taxon GroupSorted ascending
OccursWith Acrostichum_speciosum Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Camptostemon_schultzii Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Ceriops_pseudodecandra Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Ceriops_tagal Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Lumnitzera_littorea Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Lumnitzera_racemosa Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Rhizophora_apiculata Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Rhizophora_stylosa Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Scyphiphora_hydrophylacea Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Xylocarpus_granatum Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Xylocarpus_moluccensis Vascular_Plants