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Osbornia octodonta

064 3.jpg
Fruit, flowers and leaves of Osbornia octodonta, Maryborough QLD.
Photo: Lyne, A. © ANBG

Common Names

Myrtle Mangrove [1]

Spent flowers Photo: F.Zich © CSIRO



Name ref

Osbornia octodonta F.Muell.


This plant is in the same family as Eucalyptus and it's crushed leaves have the same distinctive smell ([2].

Botanical Description

Shrub or small tree growing to 5 m high. Roots occasionally spreading on soil surface, although not usually above ground.

Leaves opposite, 2-4 cm long, 1-2 cm wide, obovate-oblong in shape, numerous oil glands in leaf blade, pungent scent when crushed. There is often a red tinge at base of leaves.

Small, white, 0.5-1 cm wide flowers with a well-developed green calyx cup. The fruit is hairy, not much larger than the flower and is a similar shape ([2], [1]).


Osbornia octodonta AVH.JPG
Distribution of Osbornia octodonta in Australia.
Image: Australia's Virtual Herbarium, 2010

Distributed throughout Indonesia and the Philippines to Papua New Guinea and Northern Australian. In Australia, found from Cossack, in northern Western Australia, across the Northern Territory, to Tin Can Bay, Queensland ([1]).


May be found in back beach stands bordering the high water mark, or as a shrub under Rhizophora stylosa ([1]).

Localities (not complete):


In Australia, flowers have been observed from December to February and fruits from February to March ([1]).

Biological Interactions  
Group Taxon
  22 taxa
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 australis
Vascular Plants Ceriops pseudodecandra
Vascular Plants Ceriops tagal
Vascular Plants Cynometra iripa
Vascular Plants Excoecaria agallocha
Vascular Plants Heritiera littoralis
Vascular Plants Lumnitzera littorea
Vascular Plants Lumnitzera racemosa
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

It can be distinguished from other mangrove species by its spongy gray bark and opposite, small, obovate leaves that smell like a eucalypt when crushed ([1]).

FloraBase: http://florabase.calm.wa.gov.au/browse/profile/6005

WoRMS: http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=235073

Immature fruiting bodies Photo: F.Zich © CSIRO

Photo: F.Zich © CSIRO
Osbornia octodonta in the foreground. Photo: F.Zich © CSIRO

Photo: F.Zich © CSIRO


  1. Duke, N.C. (2006). Australia's Mangroves. The authoritative guide to Australia's mangrove plants. University of Queensland, Brisbane. (more)
  2. 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)
  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. 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)
  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. Semeniuk, V. (1980). Mangrove zonation along an eroding coastline in King Sound, north-western Australia. Journal of Ecology 68: 789-812. Available online: (more)

Biological Interactions
Relation Taxon GroupSorted ascending
InfectedBy Aniptodera_longispora Fungi
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_pseudodecandra Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Ceriops_tagal Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Cynometra_iripa Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Excoecaria_agallocha Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Heritiera_littoralis Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Lumnitzera_littorea Vascular_Plants
OccursWith Lumnitzera_racemosa 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 Ceriops_australis Vascular_Plants