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The Red and Black Mangrove Trees of North America

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Inside a Mangrove Forest Swamp
The Red and Black Mangrove Trees of North America

A Typical Mangrove Habitat and Ecosystem

Photo by Kim Nix
Several kinds of North American trees are called "mangroves". The Florida mangrove community includes three mangrove species - red mangrove, black mangrove and white mangrove.

The water tolerant red mangrove grows well out into the estuary mudflats and recognized by the arching stilt-like roots. Some times called a "walking tree", this mangrove has roots that drop down out of the branches and called prop roots. Red mangrove is always on the wet outside edge of the swamp closest to open water.

Black mangroves (Avicennia germinans) grow behind the red mangroves and get the name from their black trunk. You can also identify black mangroves by their finger-like roots or pneumataphores that stick out of the mud around their trunks. The black mangrove grows at higher levels that include high tide but not low tide.

White mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa) grows only on the highest, driest areas and cannot tolerate water. They have no special roots but have special leaf parts called salt glands that pump out the salt taken in by the roots. A mangrove forest generally grows in and is confined to an elevation of just one foot above sea level.

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