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Thomas F. Daniel, Margriet Wetherwax & Lawrence R. Heckard, except as noted

[Annual, perennial herb to] shrub, [tree], nodes generally swollen. Leaf: simple, generally opposite, entire (toothed [lobed]); stipules 0. Inflorescence: variable, with bracts, generally also bractlets. Flower: bisexual; calyx deeply (3)4–5 lobed [(sepals free)]; corolla 4–5 lobed, radial to 2-lipped; stamens 2 or 4, epipetalous, anther sacs sometimes dissimilar in size or placement; ovary superior, 4–many-ovuled, chambers 1–2, placentas axile (free central), stigmas 1–2. Fruit: capsule, loculicidal, generally dehiscing explosively, valves 2. Seed: 1–4[+], each generally subtended by hook-like outgrowth that remains in fruit.
220 genera, 4000 species: especially tropics; some ornamental: Justicia (Beloperone, shrimp-plant), Acanthus, Thunbergia. [Daniel 1998 Proc Calif Acad Sci 50:217–256; Hilu et al. 2003 Amer J Bot 90:1758–1766; Schwarzbach & McDade 2002 Syst Bot 27:84–98] —Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Unabridged references: [Daniel 1984 Desert Plant 5:162–179; Daniel 1998 Proc Calif Acad Sci 50:217–256]

Key to Acanthaceae


Thomas F. Daniel, Margriet Wetherwax & Dieter H. Wilken

Shrub [to tree]; roots spreading, exposed at low tide. Leaf: persistent, petioled; blade thick. Inflorescence: axillary, terminal, head-like, < peduncle; bractlets 3, generally < calyx, outer 1 > inner 2. Flower: calyx deeply 5-lobed; corolla 4-lobed, radial, rotate; stamens 4, attached at 1 level. Fruit: ellipsoid to ovoid, often asymmetric, 1-chambered, generally indehiscent; stalk not flat.
± 8 species: temperate, subtropics worldwide, generally coastal marshes, lagoons. (Avicenna, Persian physician, philosopher, 980–1037) [Duke et al. 1998 Evolution 52:1612–1626] Placement in Acanthaceae s.l. fairly well established; sister group relationship with Thunbergioideae weakly supported (Schwarzbach & McDade 2002; Hilu et al. 2003).
Unabridged references: [Moran 1980 Madroño 27:143]

A. marina (Forssk.) Vierh. var. australasica (Walp.) Moldenke GRAY MANGROVE
Stem: < 2.5 m; trunk < 10 cm diam. Leaf: 4–11 cm, elliptic to ovate, leathery; adaxially ± shiny, abaxially felt-like. Inflorescence: 4–9-flowered; peduncles 2–4 cm; bractlets ± ovate. Flower: corolla ± yellow-white, lobes ± ovate, leathery, puberulent abaxially. Fruit: ± 2 cm diam, ovoid.
Coastal salt marshes; ± 0 m. South Coast (Mission Bay, San Diego Co.); native to New Zealand, Australasia. [Avicennia marina (Forssk.) Vierh. var. resinifera (G. Forst.) Bakh.] First planted in 1960s, then weedy, extirpation failed in 1990. Jun–Aug [Online Interchange]

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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 27 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Avicennia, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 27 2015

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Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Avicennia marina var. australasica Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.