While different mangrove genera have evolved once or twice out of many different families, the family Rhizophoraceae is actually dominated by them. Most of the members of the family tend to have round, smooth, shiny, leathery leaves with a short point, and are bunched together at the end of the branches. There is often a long terminal stipule. Most species of Rhizophora, Ceriops, and Bruguiera produce the distinctive long cigar-like seedlings propagules.
Rhizophora are well known and recognizable mangroves. This is largely due to their often elaborate prop root systems. In other respects it is typical of the rest of the family in having shiny, roundish leaves bunched at the end of the stems, small flowers, and long seedlings that often begin to grow on the parent tree.
Rhizophora mucronata 'Red/Asiatic Mangrove' seed. Very long seed.
This family contains over 600 species, and are mostly herbs and shrubs. The petals are often held ‘scrunched’ up in the bud, and thus when they release they appear ‘crumpled’.
Pemphis acidula. Stunted growth, flaky bark and small leaves. Tree is usually fairly short and bush like. Bark is fissured and flaky or stringy. Leaves are small and rounded with a small rounded tip. Flowers are small and white, with the quite separate petals having pointed tips, and there are small yellow stamens in the middle. Fruit is small and woody. Often referred to as a ‘mangrove’, but probably more often seen on beaches rather than inside mangrove communities. Found throughout much of the tropical Indo-Pacific, from eastern Africa to Polynesia.
Sonneratia alba, ‘Apple Mangrove’, ‘White Mangrove’. Tree, with rounded apple tree like structure. Flowers are large with many showy white stamens. Fruit is green, dispersed by the sea, and reported by Brock (2001) to be edible. Normally grows in muddy estuarine situations within mangrove communities.