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Lumnitzera racemosa

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Lumnitzera racemosa flowers and buds, Cairns, QLD. Photo: F.Zich © CSIRO

Common Names

White-flowered Black Mangrove [1]

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Plate from Flora de Filipinas [...] Gran edicion [...] [Atlas I]..., 1880-1883?



Name Reference

Lumnitzera racemosa Willd.

Origin of Name

Named in honour of the German botanist, Stefani Lumnitzer (1750-1806), who pioneered the systematic description of Central European plants.

‘Racemosa’ means with racemes (in Latin), and refers to the stalked inflorescence structure of this species ( [1]).


Species Feature - White flowers on axillary racemes with centrally placed style, and stamens barely equal to petal lobes.


Columnar or scrubby tree or shrub growing to 15 m high. The trunk base has short buttresses, if any. Roots are knee-like, slender and wiry, occasionally looped above ground.

The leaves are alternate, flat and succulent, narrowly obovate-elliptic in shape, 4-6 cm long, 2 cm wide, with an emarginate apex and 3-5 mm long petiole.

The inflorescence has 1-7 white flowers each 1.6-1.8 cm long. The fruit is a 1-seeded drupe, green, oblong-ellipsoidal in shape, 1-1.5 cm L ( [2]).

Botanical Description


Tree or shrub to 15 m, columnar or scrubby and multi-stemmed, evergreen; twigs smooth, green becoming brown, young parts often pubescent; bark grey, fissured and flaky; stem base simple, short buttresses, if any; root knees, slender, wiry, occasionally looped above-ground, 5 cm L.


Leaves alternate, simple, flat and succulent, narrowly obovate-elliptic, light green, 4-6 cm L, 2 cm W, entire, sericeous when young becoming glabrous, apex rounded and emarginate, base narrowly cuneate; petiole rounded, 3-5 mm L; stipules absent.


Inflorescence axillary racemes, 1-7 flowered, 2-3 cm L; flowers perfect, 16-18 mm L, actinomorphic, sessile with a pair of short bracteoles inserted on green calyx tube, glabrous or pubescent, 6-8 mm L; calyx lobes 5, ovate, 0.5-1 mm L, pointed apex; petals 5, white, glabrous, narrow elliptic or oblanceolate, reflexed, 3-5 mm L, 1 mm W; stamens 10, on inner rim of calyx cup, equal to petals; style simple, glabrous, 4-6 mm L, persistent, positioned centrally in deep calyx cup filled with nectar; fruit cluster of drupes, fall as propagules.


Fruit drupe 1-seeded, hard, oblong-ellipsoid, flattened, green, 1-1.5 cm L, style and calyx lobes persistent, epicarp fibrous, buoyant as drupe; seed linear, germination hypogeal.

( [1]).


Lumnitzera racemosa is distributed from East Africa to India, Asia and Australia. In Australia, the species is found in estuaries and embayments along the northern coast from Roebuck Bay near Broome, Western Australia (17° 57' S, 122° 15’ E) in the west, across the Northern Territory, to Moreton Bay, Queensland (27° 22' S, 153° 10’ E) in the east ( [1]).

Localities (not complete):


Lumnitzera racemosa often occurs as scattered sparse shrubs along upland mangrove margins of relatively arid areas. Shrubby tree to tree growing on clay, sandy loam, firm mud on river banks. In such conditions, they also border relatively open high intertidal margins and exposed saltpans of intermediate estuarine locations. These locations are characterised by higher salinities and near dry sediments. In some places, L. racemosa often forms diminuitive forests of slender trees in association with Avicennia alba, Excoecaria agallocha, Bruguiera cylindrica and occasional Ceriops zippeliana.

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


In Australia, flowering peaks in December and fruits mature during February and March ( [1]).

Grows in association with: Avicennia alba, Excoecaria agallocha, Bruguiera cylindrica and occasional Ceriops zippeliana ( [1]).

The white flowers attract faunal visitors with the most likely pollinators being insects, like butterflies and wasps ( [1]).

Biological Interactions  
Group Taxon
  23 taxa
Vascular Plants Acanthus ilicifolius
Vascular Plants Acrostichum speciosum
Vascular Plants Aegialitis annulata
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 pseudodecandra
Vascular Plants Ceriops tagal
Vascular Plants Cynometra iripa
Vascular Plants Excoecaria agallocha
Vascular Plants Heritiera littoralis
Vascular Plants Hibiscus tiliaceus
Vascular Plants Lumnitzera littorea
Vascular Plants Osbornia octodonta
Vascular Plants Rhizophora_apiculata
Vascular Plants Rhizophora X lamarckii
Vascular Plants Rhizophora stylosa
Vascular Plants Scyphiphora hydrophylacea
Vascular Plants Xylocarpus granatum
Vascular Plants Xylocarpus moluccensis

Similar Species

Lumnitzera racemosa is identified generally by its light green, relatively sparse foliage, and dark roughly-fissured stems. It is distinguished from its near relative, L. littorea, by its axillary racemes of flowers with large, reflexed, white petals nearly as long as stamens, and its centrally-placed style ( [1]).

Mangrove Watch: http://www.mangrovewatch.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=38&Itemid=300170

Noosa's Native Plants: http://www.noosanativeplants.com.au/plants/329/lumnitzera-racemosa

Capricorn Coast Flora: http://www.mycapricorncoast.com/plants/black%20mangrove.html

FloraBase: http://florabase.calm.wa.gov.au/browse/profile/5296

Flora of China: http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=200014740

Wild Singapore: http://www.wildsingapore.com/wildfacts/plants/mangrove/lumnitzera/racemosa.htm

Field Guide to Kenyan Mangroves: http://www.madeinnys.com/mangrove/l_racemosa.htm

-- NormDuke and EmmaClifton - 2012-07-19 - 17:08

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Photo: Lumnitzera racemosa, Cairns, QLD. F.Zich © CSIRO

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Photo: Lumnitzera racemosa leaves, flowers and buds, Cairns, QLD. Photo: F.Zich © CSIRO

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Fruit on Lumnitzera racemosa in Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary, Andhra Pradesh, India.
Image: J.M.Garg

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Lumnitzera racemosa flowers, Singapore. Photo: John Yong

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Comparison of flower colour. Lumnitzera racemosa (white) on left and Lumnitzera littorea (red) on right , 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. Smith III, T.J. (1987). Seed predation in relation to tree dominance and distribution in mangrove forests. Ecology 68(2): 266-73. Available online: http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/1939257.pdf (more)
  4. 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)
  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)

Biological Interactions
Relation Taxon GroupSorted ascending
PreyOf Hypochrysops_apelles Lepidoptera
PreyOf Hypochrysops_narcissus Lepidoptera
PreyOf Hypolycaena_phorbas Lepidoptera
HasEpiphyte Flavoparmelia_haysomii Lichens
HasEpiphyte Heterodermia_obscurata Lichens
HasEpiphyte Ramalina_confirmata Lichens
HasEpiphyte Ramalina_inflata_perpusilla Lichens
HasEpiphyte Ramalina_pacifica Lichens
HasEpiphyte Ramalina_peruviana Lichens
OccursWith Acanthus_ilicifolius Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Acrostichum_speciosum Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Aegialitis_annulata 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 Camptostemon_schultzii Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Ceriops_australis Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Ceriops_pseudodecandra Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Ceriops_tagal Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Cynometra_iripa Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Diospyros_littorea Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Excoecaria_agallocha Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Heritiera_littoralis Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Hibiscus_tiliaceus Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Lumnitzera_littorea 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 Xylocarpus_granatum Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Xylocarpus_moluccensis Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Bruguiera_cylindrica Vascular_Plants