Description of Mangrove swamps

Mangrove swamps are dominated by trees referred to as red mangrove, Rizophora mangle, black mangrove, Avicennia germinans, and white mangrove, Laguncularia racemosa. Typically, these trees have large, exposed root systems.

Red mangroves are the most common coastal mangroves. Red Mangrove - grows seaward with high arched prop roots extending out in tiers that turn downward from the trunk. It gives the illusion of trees on 'stilts'. Prop roots grow down on the trunk of the mangrove until they reach the surface of the water where they will branch over and over forming a thick web of roots. These roots do the plant's gas exchange when out of the water. They also provide shelter for many animal species. The red mangroves located on the ocean side of their habitat are vitally important because they trap sand. This slows coastal erosion and builds a foundation for other plants to grow like sea grape, buttonwood, pines, ferns, black and white mangroves. Red mangroves also protect the coast from storm damage by slowing storm surges and tidal waves. In addition, Oysters attach themselves to these roots where they are covered during high tide. The underwater roots of Red mangroves serve as nurseries for newborn fish.

White mangrove - Laguncularia racemosa is the scientific name of the White mangrove. This mangrove tree Image of the White Mangrovegrows on land and is found in tidal areas as well as around lagoons and ponds. The most readily distinguishable feature of the white mangrove is the presences of numerous spongy pneumatophores(peg roots) which spread out around the base of the tree. Peg roots grow vertically through the soil surface to allow the mangrove to breathe. But depending on the water level situation, White mangroves can also grow pneumatophores and prop roots like their distant relatives the Black and Red mangrove.

Black Mangrove - The Black mangrove’s real name is Avicennia germinans. Black mangroves grow in muddy or sandy soils further inland than the Red mangrove. Image of Black MangrovesGround that is always wet does not have much oxygen in it. The roots of land plants need oxygen to help the plant grow. If the roots can’t get enough oxygen, the whole pant dies. But Black mangrove has special parts that help them to live in the marshland. They have unique roots called pneumatophores, which may be a foot or so high, absorb oxygen from the air when the underground roots are covered. Black mangrove is a subtropical native woody shrub that grows in salt marshes. Mangroves are very hardy, having become adapted to harsh environments where water and salinity levels fluctuate. Pneumatophores, or breather roots, form a network, collecting silt and debris and controlling erosion.