Wetland Communities -
are wetlands dominated by red, black and/or white
mangroves. The large, arching prop roots are characteristic of red
mangrove, while the upright roots called, "pneumatophores" are
characteristic of black and white mangroves. Mangroves are distributed
in coastal landscape by their ecological tolerance, i.e. there is
zonation associated with a mangrove swamp. Look carefully and you may
notice that black mangrove is the most salt tolerant mangrove species,
often growing where the soils are hypersaline. As in the scene from Big
Pine Key, below.
Red and black mangroves lining a tidal creek. The high
tide is covering the prop roots of the red mangrove.
Red mangrove is found on the waterward edge of the mangrove swamp.
With its large prop roots and unique architecture red mangrove can
withstand more wave energy. White and black mangrove seem to be the most
cold tolerant, with black mangrove surviving the winters of north
Florida. Mangroves and saltmarsh are intermingled in coastal areas of
central Florida. Here it is primarily the severity of winter cold that
inhibits the northward spread and dominance of woody mangroves.
Mangroves and saltmarsh are one of the most important coastal wetland
plant communities in Florida. These wetlands along with near shore
seagrass beds are the habitat, food and nursery area for many of
Florida’s important fisheries. People benefit from mangrove swamps in
Here, black mangrove grows with saltwort, glasswort, keys grass and
birdwatchers, etc. enjoy the birds and wildlife that frequent Florida’s
mangrove swamps. Coastal properties are protected from erosion by the
extensive root systems of mangroves. Mangrove plants should not be
molested and they are protected in Florida. Some of Florida’s most
imperiled species are dependent on healthy mangroves, such as American
crocodile and manatee. See
mangrove ID guide on our webpage, this is an illustrated guide to the
mangroves of Florida and also includes associated species, both native
and introduced. See
illustrated plant ID cards for common plants.
Interior of a red mangrove forest, note the arching prop roots,
fallen leaves and seedlings. Mangrove forests are important in
maintaining healthy nutrient cycling in coastal regions of south
Florida. Whenever possible they should be left undisturbed.
The following is a list of the major plants associated with mangrove
vegetative index as per rule 62-340, F.A.C.
Field Guide to Florida Mangroves.