Mangrove is the common name for three species of trees and shrubs found along
warm-water coasts and in salt marshes and tidal estuaries.
Characteristically they produce numerous aerial stilt or prop roots extending out from the main
trunk into the water, forming dense thickets.
There are many different types of mangroves that can be found in different parts of the
They have a great variation in size, ranging from small bushes to large trees which form
Some of their names give a hint to their different types. There is a prickly leaved one and the
Other names like fern, palm and lilly give an idea of their differing appearances. Some
are harder than others and can establish easier. Heavy hail storms are known to strip and kill them.
The red, common, or American
mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) of the Rhizophoraceae family and the black mangrove (Avicennia germinans) of the
Verbenaceae family are common to the Gulf of Mexico region and the tropical eastern coast of South
These plants produce the typical aerial roots that arch out from the main trunk into the water
and, when established in the mud, send up new plants. In time these growths produce virtually impenetrable
The button mangrove (Conocarpus erectus) of the family Combretaceae is a swamp shrub native to
tropical America and Africa.
See more about Mangrove's Importance for the
The red mangrove grows to a height of about 40 feet (12 meters). It has tough, leathery, oval or
elliptical leaves and large yellow flowers. As the fruit ripens, a sharp root grows from it; when the fruit falls,
the root is pushed into the mud and a new plant is started.
The black mangrove has white flowers and leaves that are shiny green on top and grayish on the
underside, but it is similar in growth habit to the red mangrove. Some species have "knee" roots that extend above
the mud and water and permit air to pass through small openings to the roots below.