Avicennia Marina

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‘Grey Mangroves’

Avicennia Marina Avicennia Leaves and fruit

Leaves and mature fruit (inclosing crypto-viviparous propagule) of A. integra

Avicennia Marina fruit

Mature fruit with pericarp covering of A. marina

2 species in Australia, one with 3 varieties

Avicennia L. (1753) is the sole genus in the exclusively pantropic mangrove family Avicenniaceae Endl., once grouped within the family Verbenaceae. This small but widespread and distinct mangrove family is characterised by anomalous secondary thickening, leaf anatomy, characteristic pollen, incipient vivipary and seedling morphology.

Avicennia consists of eight species worldwide including: five in the Indo-West Pacific - A. alba, A. integra, A. marina, A. officinalis L. and A. rumphiana Hallier f.; and three others in the Atlantic East Pacific. Two species, A. integra and A. marina occur in Australia. Avicennia are generally considered pioneers of mangrove forests. They occupy a diversity of habitats within the tidal range and across salinity extremes of tropical and subtropical sheltered areas. In tropical regions, this often includes a select group of co-inhabitors, like Rhizophora.

In subtropical and temperate tidal habitats, Avicennia often dominant as trees or shrubs. A special cold-tolerant variety grows at latitudes as high as 38° 45’ S in southern Australia, making this the most widely distributed of any mangrove genus.

Derivation of Genus Name

Named in honour of the famous Arabian physician and scientist, abu-Ali al-Husayn ibn-Sina, known as Avicenna (980-1037) - his Qanun remained the standard medical textbook on plants for 500 years after his death.


Avicennia occur throughout most tropical-subtropical regions of the world. Of the two species found in Australia, A. marina is ubiquitous and widespread while A. integra is rare and restricted to around 16 estuaries in the Northern Territory. The latter species has the distinction of being the only endemic mangrove species in Australia.

Avicennia World distribution map

Key to Australia's Avicennia species

Two Avicennia species are recognised in Australia’s mangroves and occur in most sheltered areas along the mainland coast. Avicennia Australian distribution map They are distinguished by flower size, margins of calyx lobes, style shape, fruit shape, leaf apex shape and bark colour.

Avicennia key

Community Volunteers

A key feature of MangroveWatch is its close partnership between community volunteers and scientists from the James Cook University’s Mangrove Hub. Together they are systematically recording basic data as video and still imagery for assessments of estuarine habitat health.

Armed with expert support, training and advice, MangroveWatch volunteers in key regions are actively contributing to the monitoring of local estuaries and shorelines. An important goal in this phase of the program is to develop a network of like minded groups with the aim of producing public documents that describe important issues affecting local estuaries and mangroves, and their overall health.

Getting Involved

If you would like to find out more about us or if you like to initiate your own MangroveWatch group within your area, please contact someone at the Mangrove Hub. We will be happy to help.

  • Mangrove Hub Facilitator
  • Dr Norm Duke
  • MangroveWatch Ltd
    ABN: 44 153 297 771
  • PO Box 1250,
  • Elanora Q 4221
  • Mangrove Hub Email

Mangrove Watch Brochure

You can download our fact and information sheet (see link below) to get more information about the MangroveWatch programs.

Mangrove Watch Brochure