deutsch english shadow
shadow shadow
mangrove banner
news | mangrove | species | keeping | pictures | videos | faq shop | cart

Familie: Rhizophoraceae

prop axillary cyme

Rhizophora stylosa

Stilted Mangrove

- introduction
- distribution
- cultivation
- roots
- leaves
- flowers
- fruits
- seeds
- trunk
- soil
- growth
- usage
Rhizophora stylosa - Stilted Mangrove Soil
mud, sand

up to 30 meters

18 bis 30°C

up to 65cm

stilt roots

Found with
Avicennia marina
Camptostemon schultzii
Ceriops australis
Ceriops tagal
Rhizophora apiculata
Rhizophora X lamarckii
Sonneratia alba


Rhizophora stylosa introduction
Rhizophora stylosa introduction
Rhizophora stylosa introduction
Rhizophora stylosa introduction
Rhizophora stylosa, the Stilted Mangrove, is the ubiquitous mangrove of Australia and also very common in the Indonesian Archipelago where Rhizophora stylosa grows next to Rhizophora apiculata and Rhizophora mucronata.

Compared to other Rhizophora mangrove species Rhizophora stylosa is able to grow in colder climate and was therefore able to colonize the southern regions of Australia where no other competitors grow except Avicennia marina. In these areas Rhizophora stylosa normally does not exceed a height of 3 to 5 meters and the propagules grow 20 to 30cm in length, in tropical areas like the north of Australia or Indonesia Rhizophora stylosa can reach up to 30 meters and the propagules a length of up to 65cm.

The adaptability and tolerance to climate and soil allowed Rhizophora stylosa to conquer a wide range of areas. Rhizophora stylosa grows in muddy, sandy, stony soil as well as in the corals.

Rhizophora stylosa often forms monotypic stands if Rhizophora stylosa is found in mangrove communities with other mangrove species Rhizophora stylosa is most found together with Avicennia marina in the south and Rhizophora mucronata in the north.

Stylosa is Latin and comes from stylos which means 'pillar' and refers to the long style of this species.

Often Rhizophora stylosa is called Red Mangrove, especially in Australia.

Rhizophora stylosa was described for the first time in 1854 by Griff.


Rhizophora stylosa distribution
Rhizophora stylosa is a widespread mangrove and colonized with its adaptability and long-living torpedo seeds almost all areas between China / Taiwan to the south of Australia. The Stilted Mangrove was als spread by human for coastal protection and aquaculture. Nowadays Rhizophora stylosa grows between latitude 20 north and 25 south from the equator.

Asia: Burma, Burnei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam
Australia: Western Ausralia, Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales


Rhizophora stylosa cultivation
Rhizophora stylosa cultivation
Rhizophora stylosa can be cultivated easily under simple growing conditions.

Soil & Fertilizer
One of the most important criterium for a successfull long term cultivation of Rhizophora stylosa with magnificent growth is to offer the right kind of soil substrate with a numerous amount of the right nutrients. We recommend Mangrove Mud Special with which we have excellent results in growing Rhizophora stylosa . Mangrove Mud Special is a long term fertilizer that can be used pure or stretched with sand. The less stretched Mangrove Mud Special is the more effective it is and the easier it is to cultivate Rhizophora stylosa .

Air temperature
Air temperature should be around 20 to 30°C. For perfect growth we recommend to grow Rhizophora stylosa at 26°C and above. Not at any time the temperature should fall below 10°C. Short temperature drops for a few days down to 15°C are normally no problem and can be handled pretty well.

Water temperature
Water temperature should be around 20 to 30°C. For perfect growth we recommend to grow Rhizophora stylosa between 25-26°C. Not at any time the temperature should fall below 10°C. Short temperature drops for a few days down to 15°C are normally no problem for Rhizophora stylosa and can be handled very well.

Humidity should be around a minimum of 50 percent. The higher humidity is the better it is for Rhizophora stylosa and its growth. In most cases a sprayer hels to increas humidity if too low.

Light plays an important role in keeping Rhizophora stylosa successfully and is directly related to the growth. Rhizophora stylosa can be grown successfully by daylight during the whole year but shows its full glory at a daily light period of 10 to 12 hours. An additional or total illumination by an artificial lighting system is recommended, especially in places outside of the thirtieth latitude.

Artifical lights should have a light spectra of about 5000 to 13000 kelvins. Experience has shown that HQI (Metal Halide), high quality LED or HPS (High Pressure Sodium) lights in the just-called range achieved best results.

T5 fluorescent lamps also achieved good results in growth of Rhizophora stylosa. We do not recommend T8 fluorescent lamps or other common plant lamps for Rhizophora stylosa.

Growth field
Rhizophora stylosa perfectly can be grown in any kind of aquarium whether seawater aquarium, brackish water aquarium or freshwater aquarium. The implementation of Rhizophora stylosa into your tank is generally absolutely easy. Rhizophora stylosa has rapid growth and filters nirite, nitrate and phosphate pretty good.

Mangrove Basin
Cultivation of Rhizophora stylosa in a mangrove basin is very easy. Socialization with other mangrove species is no problem.

Due to the increased humidity in a vivarium Rhizophora stylosa can be grown perfectly in a vivarium. Keep in mind cutting shoots right on time before the plants get too big.

Terrariums normally do not have brackish or marine water and therefore we do not recommend to cultivate Rhizophora stylosa in Tearrariums.

Indoor plant / Conservatory
Due the robustness of the Stilted Mangrove, Rhizophora stylosa is one of the few mangrove species that can be grown as an indoor plant on the window sill or in a conservatory. It is important that the Rhizophora stylosa is grown from a seed to make sure that the Stilted Mangrove can adapt to the individual conditions like fluctuating temperatures or daylight hours from first day on. To support the growth during the whole year the temperature can be supported by a heating system and the daylight hours by artificial lights to make sure that the Rhizophora stylosa receives 10 to 12 hours light daily.

Further details about keeping mangroves are shown detailed and clearly here

We recommend brackish water with a salinity of 10 to 25 grams not iodized sea salt per liter.

Rhizophora stylosa plants are available on our webshop.

Rhizophora stylosa seeds are available on our webshop.


Rhizophora stylosa roots
Rhizophora stylosa roots
Rhizophora stylosa roots
Rhizophora stylosa roots
Rhizophora stylosa roots
Rhizophora stylosa roots
Rhizophora stylosa roots
Rhizophora stylosa develops the for Rhizophora species typical stilt roots or prop roots. Stilt roots arises from the trunk or branches of the mangrove and grows toward the soil where the stilt root will develop an underground root system.

If the stilt root meets water instead of soil the stilt root will grow under water toward the soil in the ocean or any other subject, a reef for example, that the stilt root can hold on to and be rooted to.Once the tip of the stilt root meets a subject it can root to many smaller roots develop to ancor themselves to the subject or in the soil.

Stilt roots have plenty functions, one of the most important one is to uphold the mangrove and ensure its growing space. The tides are rough, huge waves, strong winds, tropical storms such as typhoons and hurricanes do not make it easy for mangroves.

If a tropical storm comes along with all its power mangroves are the one to be hit first and then other plants, animals and humans, this is the reason why there have been just small damages in areas behind the mangroves during the tsunami in december 2004, mangroves protect the coast in many ways.

To ensure living in the tides it is important for Rhizophora stylosa to develop numerous massive stilt roots.

Another important function of the stilt roots is to allow the exchange of gases in oxygen-poor sediments. Mangroves do often grow in mud which do almost not supply any oxygen at all. The arcuate stilt roots have countless lenticels which serve the gas exchange. Therefore the common name air roots.

Stilt roots of a fully grown Rhizophora stylosa can be 3 meters long and extend in a radius of up to 7 meters around the trunk.

As humans we often see the stilt roots above the water surface, the entangled root system of stilt roots under water can be huge and very impressive, it provides useful services to its environment. Countless animals, especially fish, seahorses, shells and crustaceans find shelter in the root system of mangrove stilt roots, they provide protection from predators and a perfect nursery.

Normally young Rhizophora stylosa develop their first stilt roots with the age of 2 years.


Rhizophora stylosa leaves
Rhizophora stylosa leaves
Rhizophora stylosa leaves
Rhizophora stylosa is as any other mangrove an evergreen plant. Rhizophora species grow leaves in clusters at the end of branches, pollutants and excess salt in the cell sap are placed in older leaves which turn yellow and fall off.

The Stilted Mangroves normally grows along the equator in a habitat with tropical and subtropical climate therefore Rhizophora stylosa is an evergreen tree that develops branches and leaves during the whole year.

The leaves are generally oppsosite and have an elliptic shape, the upper side is smooth and dark green the bottom is waxy and light green to yellowish.

The Stilted Mangrove has thick and leathery leaves which are up to 14cm, most of the time between 6 to 12cm and about 4 to 8cm wide.

The two stipules of each leafpair are green and serve as protection during the development of the leaves as soon as the leaves are fully developed and open the stipules turn brown and fall off.


Rhizophora stylosa flowers
Rhizophora stylosa flowers
Rhizophora stylosa flowers
Rhizophora stylosa flowers
Rhizophora stylosa flowers
Rhizophora stylosa flowers
The blossoms of Rhizophora stylosa are small and inconspicuous as all blossoms of all Rhizophora species. The colors of the blossoms are usually white and yellow which car vary from pale yellow to dark yellow.

Rhizophora stylosa develops compound inflorescence, the flowers arise from the axil.

Flowering of Rhizophora stylosa varies by location.

First flowers are developed at the age of about 5 years.


Rhizophora stylosa fruits
Rhizophora stylosa fruits
Rhizophora stylosa fruits
Rhizophora stylosa develops little brown fruits which are about 3-5cm small. A propagule vertically outgrows the fruit. The propagule starts to grow its sprout in the fruit while it is still on the mother tree.

Once the propagule is fully grown it seperates itself from the fruit and falls down on the ground where it immediately starts to develop roots. The edible fruit has fulfilled its purpose, normally after a few days the remaining fruit falls off the tree as well, crabs and bacteria will decompose it.


Rhizophora stylosa seeds
Propagules of Rhizophora stylosa are not easy to identify for beginners, the propagules of Rhizophora stylosa resamble the propagules of Rhizophora mucronata as both have a pointed tip, Rhizophora apiculata has a round tip. It takes some experience to be able to distinguish between the Rhizophora propagules and to identify propagules of Rhizophora stylosa undoubtedly. As most mangrove propagules the propagules of Rhizophora stylosa are viviparous and already develop a sprout on the mother tree.

Rhizophora stylosa normally develops propagules twice a year, the time when Rhizophora stylosa develops them varies depending on the location.

Fresh propagules vary from dark green to light green.

The viviparous propagules can grow up to 65cm in lengh but most of the time do not exceed a lengh of 20 to 40cm and a diameter of 1 to 2cm.

The propagule outgrows the fruit towards the ground. The fruit holds the propagule until the viviparous propagule is fully grown and falls off the fruit into the ground. The propagule does not need to waste any time for sprouting and therefore directly starts to secure its place by developing 2 to 4 anchor roots.

Once the roots and especially the anchor roots are strong enough to ensure the survival from waves and strong winds the already developt sprout rapidly starts to grow bigger and soon to develop branches.

In case that the propagule does not fall into soil but water, into the ocean for example, or some waves carry away the propagule, the propagule has enough nutrients from its mother tree to survive for up to one year flooting in the ocean searching for a place to grow.

This characteristic allowed Rhizophora stylosa to conquer Asia and huge areas of Australia.


Rhizophora stylosa trunk
Rhizophora stylosa trunk
Rhizophora stylosa trunk
Typically Rhizophora stylosa develops a one columnar stem which often soon starts to develop a few main branches. The wood of the trunk has a high densite which makes it very attractive for industrial, more details about the usage of Rhizophora stylosa can be found at "usage".

During the live of a Rhizophora stylosa tree the stem can reach a diameter of 20 to 40cm. The bark is greyish to brownish, thin when young and thick when older.

Colour and other details of the bark can vary from location and country.


Rhizophora stylosa soil
Rhizophora stylosa soil
Rhizophora stylosa soil
Rhizophora stylosa soil
Rhizophora stylosa is tolerant to the substrate in which it grows as long as it is very nutritious.

Rhizophora stylosa prefers muddy, oxygen-poor soils along estuarine banks or along the coast. These muddy soils are flooded daily by the tides and are mostly inhabited by numerous crustaceans which decompose biomass such as falling leaves and blossoms quickly.

Stony and/or sandy soil along the coast is often colonized by Rhizophora stylosa. These habitats most of the time do not have as much nutrients as the muddy habitats and therefore Rhizophora stylosa normally does not exceed a height of 10 meters.


Rhizophora stylosa growth
Rhizophora stylosa growth
Rhizophora stylosa grows along the coast and sometimes directly in the ocean near the coast, often in areas where rivers flow into the ocean, soils are very nutritious and where humidity is between 60 to 80 percent and the air temperature is between 25 to 30°C. Under these conditions Rhizophora stylosa is able to reach a height of up to 30 meters but usually stops height between 5 to 20 meters.

The height and growth of the Red Mangrove is in direct relation with the location where it grows and the existing growth conditions. This is why dwarfts of Rhizophora stylosa are found in the very north and south of its habitat where the climate is colder and the daily sunlight hours vary in winter and summer while Rhizophora stylosa near the equator can reach up to 30 meters in height.

Young plants develop the first branches already after a few pair of leaves and immediately grow in width. This is another feature of Rhizophora stylosa to defend its position.

The propagule developes to a respectable litte tree withina a few years.


Rhizophora stylosa usage
Rhizophora stylosa usage
The wood of Rhizophora stylosa has very high density and therefore very heavy wood which makes it very attractive as timber for boats, houses, fences and also fire wood.

Rhizophora stylosa is still used nowadays to produce charcoal.

The tannins of Rhizophora stylosa are used for dyeing leather.

An extract from the bark of Rhizophora stylosa is obtained to reliably help against stomach ulcers.

Fortunately, people use Rhizophora stylosa mainly for reforestation of destroyed coastlines as Rhizophora stylosa grows quickly and reliably protects coasts from erosion. Rhizophora stylosa furthermore helps fisherman and aquaculture by providing perfect breeding habitants through its root system for countless fish and crabs.
shadow shadow
sign up for our email newsletter