Red Mangrove Tree
Rhizophora mangle – Red Mangrove
Other Common Names: American Mangrove
Rhizophora mangle is probably the most popular and mangrove known all over the world. It is able to grow in different climates and is able to inhabit huge territories, driving out other mangrove species. It belongs to the Rhizophoraceae family and is commonly known as the American Mangrove or the Red Mangrove.
It is easy to distinguish and identify red mangroves because of their exceptional prop roots system.Their prop roots are suspended over water for extra support and protection, and to allow it to intake oxygen directly through its roots.
In ideal conditions, the red mangrove can reach up to 80 feet or 24 meters. But normally, they reach only about 20 feet or 6.1 meters tall. They also have thick and brown to gray colored barks.
The leaves of the red mangrove grow in clusters at the end of the branches. They are evergreen, which means that they have leaves all year round. Generally, the leaves are opposite and have an elliptic shape. The upper side is dark green in color and has a smooth surface, while the underside is light green, sometimes yellow, with black spots and has a waxy texture. They are leathery and usually grows between 6 to 12 centimeters long and 3 to 6 centimeters wide.
The small flowers of the red mangrove grow in spring and they are usually colored pale yellow to dark yellow. Then, they develop into little brown fruits, that are usually 3 to 5 centimeters small. They are edible and usually consumed by crabs and other animals when they ripen and fall off the tree.