The Red Mangrove is known as the “walking tree” for the prop roots that seem to walk out into the water. Drop roots also grow down from high in the tree to the ground to support the growing tree. The prop and drop roots provide air as well as water to the plant. Roots are able to filter salt from the water. Yellowish-to-white 4-petalled flowers, borne in clusters of 2-3 at the leaf axils appear year-round. A single seeded fruit germinates on the tree and produces a propagule. The formation of the propagule is called viviparous birth or live birth because the propagule has everything it needs to become a new tree. The propagules fall into the water or mud to grow and are still viable after one year of floating in the seawater. The thick leaves are a dark, shiny green in an elliptic shape. Powdered leaves have been used to relieve constipation. A tea from the leaves has been used to treat fish poisoning. If you peel the bark back, the trunk is a reddish color, thus its common name. Mangrove roots provide protection for many marine animals.
Information Provided by the Friends of Barefoot Beach Preserve
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