White Mangrove

Scientific Name
Avicennia marina (Forssk.) Vierh.
Higher Classification
Avicennia officinalis in sense of Baker, not of L. (misapplied name)
Common Names
Mangrove (e), White Mangrove (e)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Least Concern
Assessment Date
J. Adams, A. Rajkaran & D. van der Colff
This species is widespread across the east coast and occurs in a large number of estuaries. It has lost habitat to development and a large number of the estuaries it occurs in has continuous threats. However it has the ability to recolonize disturbed sites when the environment becomes favourable again, due to its effective dispersal mechanisms. The population is currently stable and it is not threatened with extinction.
Not endemic to South Africa
Provincial distribution
Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal
Widespread in estuaries along the east coast of South Africa from Chalumna to Kosi Bay. It is also widespread in coastal areas of the western Indian Ocean including Madagascar and Mozambique, northwards to Egypt, where it occurs on the coast of the Red Sea. It has also been recorded as far as the southern Pacific coast at New Zealand.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Albany Thicket, Forest, Indian Ocean Coastal Belt
Intertidal zone mudflats and sandy shores, and estuaries and tidal river banks with brackish water. It is a common and often dominant constituent of mangrove swamps (usually the inland fringes of mangrove associations), and is also a pioneer of new mud banks.
This species is threatened by habitat loss due to urban and industrial development along the coast - specifically near large towns - as well as infrastructure development related to transport such as roads, bridges, air- and sea- travel. Two mangrove forests in Lovu and Mntafufu estuaries has been lost due to bridge construction, which caused such extensive habitat degradation downstream that the mangrove could not persist. There is evidence of harvesting activities in a large number of estuaries where this species bark is harvested for medicinal use as well as wood harvesting for fuel. In two localities this species is threatened by competition and exclusion by invasive alien plants. Pollution from sewage has been recorded as well as habitat degradation due to upstream agricultural activities and bank erosion from agricultural activities in close proximity to estuaries. Browsing and trampling by cattle and goats causes habitat degradation. These threats are ongoing and affects both protected as well an unprotected estuaries.
Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Avicennia marina (Forssk.) Vierh.Least Concern Raimondo et al. (2009)

Adams, J., Colloty, B. and Bate, G. 2004. The distribution and state of mangroves along the coast of Transkei, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Wetlands Ecology and Management 12(5):531-541.

Adams, J.B., Veldkornet, D. and Tabot, P. In press. Distribution of macrophyte species and habitats in South African estuaries. South African Journal of Botany.

Bolosha, U. 2016. A review of the distribution of mangrove forests in South Africa and changes in growth of mangrove species along a latitudinal gradient. Unpublished M.Sc., Rhodes University, Grahamstown.

Boon, R. 2010. Pooley's Trees of eastern South Africa. Flora and Fauna Publications Trust, Durban.

Fernandes, R. 2005. Avicenniaceae. In: G.V. Pope and E.S. Martins (eds). Flora Zambesiaca 8 (Part 7):1-3. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Hoppe-Speer, S.C., Adams, J.B. and Rajkaran, A. 2015. Mangrove expansion and population structure at a planted site, East London, South Africa. Southern Forests: a Journal of Forest Science 77(2):131-139.

Raimondo, D., von Staden, L., Foden, W., Victor, J.E., Helme, N.A., Turner, R.C., Kamundi, D.A. and Manyama, P.A. 2009. Red List of South African Plants. Strelitzia 25. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.

Rajkaran, A. 2011. A status assessment of mangrove forests in South Africa and the utilization of mangroves at Mngazana Estuary. Unpublished Ph.D., Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth.

Rajkaran, A., Adams, J. and Taylor, R. 2009. Historic and recent (2006) state of mangroves in small estuaries from Mlalazi to Mtamvuna in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Southern Forests 71(4):287-296.

Adams, J., Rajkaran, A. & van der Colff, D. 2016. Avicennia marina (Forssk.) Vierh. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version 2017.1. Accessed on 2019/06/16

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Distribution map

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