Lumnitzera (Lumnitzera racemosa)

Lumnitzera racemosa in flower
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Lumnitzera fact file

Lumnitzera description

GenusLumnitzera (1)

Lumnitzera racemosa is a mangrove species with a wide tropical and sub-tropical distribution. It is a small- to medium-sized evergreen tree, with many spreading branches that are covered in brown to greyish-black bark and red, reddish-brown or greyish-black twigs (2) (3) (4). When competition for space is low, this species grows as a rounded, low-crowned tree, with branches that root into the substrate. In areas where competition for growing space is fiercer, it may adopt a narrower form, with a more conical crown and a single trunk (4).

Arranged alternately along the branches, the succulent, oval-shaped leaves of Lumnitzera racemosa have slightly wavy margins and an indented tip (2). A spiked inflorescence is formed in the axils (the upper angle between the leaf and the stem) (2) (3) (4). The flowers are generally small and fragrant, with an erect, green, tube-like calyx that is split into five lobes at the tip (2).

The vase-shaped fruits of Lumnitzera racemosa are glossy yellowish-green (2).

Height: up to 10 m (2)

Lumnitzera biology

Lumnitzera racemosa generally flowers between November and August and produces fruits between August and April, although the exact timing varies with location (3). It is pollinated by a variety of day-active wasps, bees, butterflies and moths (4). The fruits of Lumnitzera racemosa are corky and buoyant. When mature, the fruits drop into the water and are dispersed by the currents (2).


Lumnitzera range

Lumnitzera racemosa is found throughout South Asia, Australasia, East Africa and the Middle East (1) (2) (5).


Lumnitzera habitat

Usually restricted to the landward edge of open mangrove forests, Lumnitzera racemosa is found along coastal shores, lagoons, saltwater and freshwater swamps, swampy meadows and in sandy soils (2) (5) (4) (5). It may also colonise disturbed sites, where it initially forms pure, single-species stands (4). Lumnitzera racemosa is intolerant of shade, but is able to withstand fairly high salinity (5).


Lumnitzera status

Lumnitzera racemosa is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern


Lumnitzera threats

Lumnitzera racemosa is particularly sensitive to sediment that is washed down from upstream, changes in land use, and erosion. Rising sea levels also pose a major threat, especially where coastal development may prevent movement of this species inland. Climate change is likely to exacerbate these current impacts (1) (5).

In addition, Lumnitzera racemosa may also face a number of localised threats, including habitat destruction and the removal of mangrove areas for human activities, as well as pollution, and natural threats such as cyclones, hurricane and tsunamis (1) (5).


Lumnitzera conservation

There are currently no conservation measures specifically targeted at Lumnitzera racemosa, although it is present in some marine and coastal protected areas (1) (5).

ARKive is supported by OTEP, a joint programme of funding from the UK FCO and DFID which provides support to address priority environmental issues in the Overseas Territories, and Defra

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Alternate leaves
Leaves that are located at alternating points along a stem, rather than in opposite pairs.
All of the sepals (floral leaves) of a flower, which form the protective outer layer of a flower bud.
A plant which retains leaves all year round. This is in contrast to deciduous plants, which completely lose their leaves for part of the year.
An organ that makes and secretes substances used by the body.
The reproductive shoot of a plant, which bears a group or cluster of flowers.
To transfer pollen grains from the stamen (male part of a flower) to the stigma (female part of a flower) of a flowering plant. This usually leads to fertilisation, the development of seeds and, eventually, a new plant.
A floral leaf (collectively comprising the calyx of the flower) that forms the protective outer layer of a flower bud.
In plants, species with thick, fleshy, water-storing stems and leaves.


  1. IUCN Red List (February, 2011)
  2. Selvam, V. (2007) Trees and Shrubs of the Maldives. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok. Available at:
  3. eFlora - Lumnitzera racemosa (February, 2011)
  4. Tomlinson, P.B. (1986) The Botany of Mangroves. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  5. Global Marine Species Assessment - Lumnitzera racemosa (February, 2011)

Image credit

Lumnitzera racemosa in flower  
Lumnitzera racemosa in flower

© Ria Tan /

Ria Tan


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