Red MangroveRhizophora mucronata

  • Mangroves & Estuaries
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  • Tree
  • Mangrove


R. mucronata is a small to medium sized mangrove species measuring up to a maximum of 25 to 35 meters, and typically measures around 15 to 20 meters. It is the most common mangrove tree found in Mauritius and is common throughout East Africa and the Indo-pacific region. Like other mangroves, it has aerial stilt roots that support its trunk. The leaves, elliptical in shape measure between 9 to 18 centimeters long and 4 to 8 centimeters wide, and have a spine at the tip, the mucronate measure up to 5 mm long. Propagules measuring 20 to 40 centimeters have a rough warty surface and will detach from the branch when sufficiently developed to root in the mud.[1]


[1] Batool, Nazima, Noshin Ilyas, and Armghan Shahzad. 2014. "Asiatic Mangrove (Rhizophora mucronata) – An overview." European Academic Research 2 (3).

Habitat and ecology  

 R. mucronata is found in the lower to mid-intertidal region in estuaries, tidal creeks and flat coastal areas. It is often found closer to the seaward side of mangrove forests. It tolerates a maximum salinity of 40 ppt, optimally between 8 to 33 ppt for growth. It is easily propagated and grows relatively fast, up to 6 meters high within seven years, making it the most used species for mangrove restoration.  Like other mangrove habitats and ecosystems, R. mucronata provide an important ecological role, particularly when part of a mangrove forest: they help protect the coast against storms, hurricanes and tsunamis, help reduce coastal erosion, trap suspended sediments in their roots, and at scale are able to sequester a high amount of carbon dioxide. Mangrove ecosystems act as a breeding place and nursery ground for many marine organisms.


Conservation and threats

R. mucronata is classified as a species of Least Concern in the IUCN Red List.[1] Nonetheless, it faces a number of localized threats, namely habitat destruction, land reclamation for coastal development, pollution from effluents, solid wastes, siltation, and agricultural runoff. Sea level rise as a result of climate change is likely to affect the habitat of this species, as well as the species it harbours. It is illegal to cut mangroves in Mauritius; and a number of mangrove habitats are found within protected areas. In Bel Ombre, a mangrove restoration is proposed within the estuary.


[1] Duke, N., Kathiresan, K., Salmo III, S.G., Fernando, E.S., Peras, J.R., Sukardjo, S. & Miyagi, T. 2010.  Rhizophora mucronata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T178825A7618520. Downloaded on 18 April 2018.

Did you know?

R. mucronata is used to treat a number of ailments in folk medicine, including diarrhea.