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Cynometra iripa

Cynometra iripa leaves.jpg
Leaves at Kahanu Gardens, Hawaii. Photo: Forest & Kim Starr

Common Names

Wrinkle-pod Mangrove [1].


Cynometra iripa leaves2.jpg
Leaves at Kahanu Gardens, Hawaii. Photo: Forest & Kim Starr

Fabaceae(Caesalpiniaceae in Qld, ACT and Vic).

Name Reference

Cynometra iripa Kostel.

Origin of Name

‘Cyno-metra’ means dogs uterus (in Greek), and refers to the peculiar shape of the fruits of this genus. ‘Iripa’ means within the stream bank (in Latin), and refers to the estuarine streamside habit of this species ( [1]).


Species Feature - Wrinkled pod of mature fruit.


A spreading tree or shrub growing to 15 m in height. The trunk base is simple and the roots are not often above ground.

The leaves are alternate and compound with 2-4 leaflets. The leaflets are opposite, ovate in shape, 10-13 cm long and 4-6 cm wide with a round apex. The most distinctive characteristic of the leaflet is that the veins are slightly off-centre.

The inflorescence has 3-5 white flowers that become brown with age and are 3-4 mm long. The fruit is a 1-seeded, wrinkled pod, semi-orbicular in shape, possesses a distinct beak, turns from green to brown as it matures and is 1-2 cm long and 1-2 cm wide ( [2]).

Botanical Description


Tree or shrub to 15 m, spreading, tier-like branching, evergreen; bark grey patchy, finely fissured; stem base simple; roots not often above ground.


Leaves alternate, compound, uni- or bi-jugate with 2-4 leaflets, lower pair often smaller; leaflets dull grey-green glabrous, asymmetric ovate, 10-13 cm L, 4-6 cm W, apex rounded, entire; petiole and leaflets each with a corky pulvinus, 1-2 mm L; stipules intrapetiolar, narrow, no scar.


Inflorescence axillary, 3-5-flowered, capitate, flowers subtended by a 1 cm L bract and pedicel; flowers perfect, zygomorphic, erect, white becoming brown; calyx shallow, with 4 narrow imbricate lobes, 3-4 mm L, curved distally when reflexed; petals 5, creamy white, lanceolate, 5-8 mm L; stamens 10, evenly spaced, slender filaments, to 7 mm L, anthers small; ovary hairy inside and outside, inserted eccentrically on a short stalk; style slender, bent off-alignment, 3-4 mm L, stigma capitate; fruit 1-seeded bivalved pod, asymmetric semi-orbicular with distinct thumb-like beak, wrinkled, green to brown, rough, 1-2 cm L, 1-2 cm W.


Seed without endosperm, buoyant, germination epigeal.

( [1]).


Cynometra iripa may be distributed from India throughout SE Asia to the Pacific and Australia, however there has been confusion in distinguishing it from C. ramiflora L. In Australia, C. iripa is found in many estuaries across the northern coast from the Cato River in Arnhem Bay, Northern Territory (12° 16' S, 136° 21’ E) in the west, to the Pioneer River, Queensland (21° 09' S, 149° 13’ E) in the east ( [2]).

Localities (not complete):


In Australia, flowering peaks during March to August, and fruits mature from December to February [1].

A slow growing tree that only produces seeds in years of abundant rain ( [6]).

Biological Interactions
Group Taxon
  26 taxa
Vascular Plants Acrostichum speciosum
Vascular Plants Acanthus ilicifolius
Vascular Plants Aegiceras corniculatum
Vascular Plants Avicennia_marina
Vascular Plants Barringtonia spp.
Vascular Plants Bruguiera exaristata
Vascular Plants Bruguiera gymnorhiza
Vascular Plants Bruguiera parviflora
Vascular Plants Bruguiera_sexangula
Vascular Plants Ceriops tagal
Vascular Plants Ceriops pseudodecandra
Vascular Plants Diospyros geminata
Vascular Plants Excoecaria agallocha
Vascular Plants Heritiera littoralis
Vascular Plants Hibiscus tiliaceus
Vascular Plants Lumnitzera littorea
Vascular Plants Lumnitzera racemosa
Vascular Plants Nypa fruticans
Vascular Plants Osbornia octodonta
Vascular Plants Rhizophora apiculata
Vascular Plants Rhizophora mucronata
Vascular Plants Rhizophora stylosa
Vascular Plants Sonneratia alba
Vascular Plants Sonneratia caseolaris
Vascular Plants Xylocarpus granatum
Vascular Plants Xylocarpus moluccensis


A regular component of high intertidal mangrove stands of larger riverine estuaries ( [1]).

High intertidal, intermediate-upstream estuarine position. ( [1]).

Similar Species

This species was until recently grouped with C. ramiflora L., a species often associated with mangrove habitat but also recorded inland. Cynometra iripa is distinguished from C. ramiflora by its eccentric bent style later becoming the prominent lateral beak of the distinctive wrinkled-pod fruit, ovary with hairy inside and outside surfaces, and distally curved calyx lobes when flowering ( [1]).

Flora of Australia Online: http://www.anbg.gov.au/abrs/online-resources/flora/stddisplay.xsql?pnid=1875

Flora far North Queensland: http://florafnq.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/cynometra-iripa-wrinkle-pod-mangrove-fabaceae/

Plants of Hawaii: http://www.hear.org/starr/images/species/?q=cynometra+iripa&o=plants

Checklist of Mangrove species of South East India and Sri Lanka: http://umramap.cirad.fr/amap2/logiciels_amap/Mangrove_web/especes/c/cynir/cynir.html

Cynometra iripa pod.jpg
Fruit in hand at Kahanu Gardens, Hawaii. Photo: Forest & Kim Starr

Cynometra iripa pod2.jpg
Fruit on ground at Kahanu Gardens, Hawaii. Photo: Forest & Kim Starr


  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. 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)
  4. Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA)(2010). Christmas Island National Park. Available at: http://www.environment.gov.au/parks/christmas/index.html (more)
  5. 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)
  6. 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)

Biological Interactions
Relation Taxon GroupSorted ascending
OccursWith Acanthus_ilicifolius Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Acrostichum_speciosum Vascular_Plants
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 Bruguiera_sexangula Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Ceriops_pseudodecandra Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Ceriops_tagal 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 Rhizophora_apiculata Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Rhizophora_mucronata Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Rhizophora_stylosa 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