A field guide to Kenyan mangroves


Bruguiera gymnorrhiza (L.) Lamk. 1797-8

Family: Rhizophoraceae

The mangrove tree Bruguiera gymnorrhiza shows a very wide distribution, occuring around the Indian Ocean and the West Pacific. In Kenya, Bruguiera gymnorrhiza does not occur in distinct zones. It is mostly mixed in the Rhizophora mucronata zone, but is usually absent from the area nearest to the seaward edge. Within the forest, Bruguiera gymnorrhiza can locally be present as the dominant species, but usually as a patch than a zone. An exception on this distribution is Chale Island, in Gazi bay. Chale Island is formed by the remains of a fossil coral reef. The mangrove vegetation is dominanted by Bruguiera gymnorrhiza, up to 30 m tall (G. Kairo, personal communication). Read this note about the spelling of Bruguiera gymnorrhiza.

Leaves of B. gymnorrhiza have very similar colors as R. mucronata leaves, however are narrower and lack the mucron at the tip of the leaf. The absence of a mucron makes the B. gymnorrhiza leaf tip often curl to the underside of the leaf. Furthermore, the leaves appear thinner and more flexible than the R. mucronata leaves and do not have the cork warts (brown little dots) on the underside of the leaves

Root system
B. gymnorrhiza typically develops knee roots. However, short aerial roots, which do not reach to the soil, are often present on the stems of trees in permenantly waterlogged conditions.

The flowers of Bruguiera gymnorrhiza are solitary and axillary. The usually colorful (pink to red) calyx displays more than ten thick pointed lobes. Petals are brown to orange in color and display three small filamentous appendages at the tip.

The hypocotyl in B. gymnorrhiza is olive green and ridged . The ridges are not always clear in fresh specimens, but become very clear when dried. The length of the propagule is on average 20 cm, while the diameter is on average 1.5 cm.



Tomlinson, P.B., 1986. The Botany of Mangroves. Cambridge University Press. Cambride Tropical Biology Series. 413 pp.

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all text and photographs copyrightę 2002-2016 David Gillikin and Anouk Verheyden
Created 28 August 2001