Local Species Identification

The Red mangrove ( Rhizophora mangle) is the tallest of all local species. It grows to heights over 80 feet tall (25m). It has large broad leaves grow to 5 inches (12cm) and terminate with a blunt point. The leaves are waxy, dark green above and pale green below. The trunk and limbs have grey bark that covers a dark red wood. The key characteristics of the Red mangrove are the "prop roots" derived from the trunk and “drop roots” from the branches. The seedling or propagule is almost 6 inches long (l5 cm) and cigar-shaped.

The second tallest species is the Black mangrove ( Avicennia germinans), reaching heights over 65 feet(20m). The elliptical, green leaves approach lengths of 4 inches (10cm) and are often encrusted with salt. The leaf undersurface is covered with dense hairs. The bark is dark and scaly. The key characteristics of the Black mangroves are the aerial roots known as pneumatophores born from underground horizontal cable roots. Living in oxygen deprived sediment more than 10,000 pneumatophores may be found on a single tree. The propagules are approximately one inch (2-3cm) long and lima bean shaped.

The White mangrove ( Laguncularia racemosa) is the smallest species existing as a tree or shrub with maximum heights of 50 feet (l5 m). The leaf shape is a broad, flat oval rounded at both ends. Leaf lengths approach three inches (7cm). Two glands are found at the base of each leaf at the apex of the petiole. When growing in oxygen deprived sediment the White mangrove often develop peg roots which are similar to pneumatophores except they are shorter and more stout in appearance. The propagules are very small, usually less than 0.2 inches (0.5 cm).

The Buttonwood ( Conocarpus erectus) is an associate of the community, but is more frequently found in the upland transitional zone. Its pointed leaves possess salt glands as openings alternating along the midrib on the underside of the leaf. Rough bark exists on older trees which is often covered with epiphytes (plants which live on other plants). Rather than producing seedlings that germinate on the parent tree, buttonwoods flower with the formation of a button-like seed case.

Red Mangorve

Black Mangrove

White Mangrove