What is a Mangrove?
Mangroves are tropical plants that are adapted to loose, wet soils, salt water, and being periodically submerged by tides.
Four major factors appear to limit the distribution of mangroves:
There are more that 50 species of mangroves found throughout the world. Three species of mangroves are native to Florida: red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle), Black mangrove (Avicennia germinans) and White mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa).
Red mangroves are easily identified by their "prop roots" which are tangled, reddish, aerial roots that originate from the trunk and branches. Their leaves are 1-5 inches long, broad and blunt on the tip, shiny, deep green on top, and paler on the underside.
Black mangroves can be identified by numerous finger-like projections, called pneumatophores, that protrude from the soil around the tree's trunk. Black mangrove leaves are oblong, shiny green on top and covered with short dense hairs on the underside. Black mangroves are usually found in slightly higher elevations upland from red mangroves.
White mangroves have no visible aerial root system like red and black mangroves. The easiest way to identify white mangroves is by the leaves. The leaves are up to 3 inches long, elliptical (rounded at both ends), yellowish in color, and have two distinguishing glands at the base of each leaf blade where the stem begins. White mangroves are usually located in elevations higher and farther upland than either the red or black mangroves.
It has been estimated that there are over 500,000 acres of mangroves
remaining in the coastal areas of Central and South Florida. Of this
total, it is estimated that at least 80 percent are under some form of
governmental or private ownership or control for preservation or
The Department implements statutes that
regulate the alteration and trimming of mangroves. Three species of tropical wetland trees
that grow along the shoreline of many estuaries in central and southern Florida are
classified as mangroves; they are
Last updated: September 21, 2011
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