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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Family: Rhizophoraceae (mangrove family)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Rosids > Eurosid I > Order: Malpighiales

About 16 genera and 149 species worldwide (tropics and subtropics of Africa, Asia and America), of which four genera and 10 species are native to southern Africa. One of the genera, Cassipourea, does not occur in mangrove forests but occurs in other types of forests and woodland.

Besides the genera in the Rhizophoraceae that occur in mangrove forests (Bruuiera, Ceriops and Rhizophora), the following genera from other families occur in this unique habitat: Xylocarpus (Meliaceae), Heritiera (Sterculiaceae), Sonneratia (Sonneratiaceae), Barringtonia (Lecythidaceae), Lumnitzera (Combretaceae) and Avicennia (Avicenniaceae).

Genera native in southern Africa

List from Bredenkamp (2000).


Six species (Africa to Asia and Australia) with one, Bruguiera gymnorrhiza native to southern Africa (KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape coasts).



About 62 species (mainly tropical and southern Africa, also tropical America and India), with seven species native to southern Africa. None are mangrove forest species.


Two species (mud banks in tropical coastal areas from East Africa to East Indies and Northern Australia), with one of them, Ceriops tagal, native to southern Africa (KwaZulu-Natal coast).



About eight species (along tropical shores of Africa, Asia and America) with one, Rhizophora mucronata, native to the coast of KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape.



  • Bredenkamp, C.L. 2000. Rhizophoraceae. In: Seed Plants of Southern Africa (ed. O.A. Leistner). Strelitzia 10: 468-469. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.

  • Coates Palgrave, K. (edited Coates Palgrave, M.) 2002. Trees of Southern Africa. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.