General: 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.
The pneumatophores are also excellent nursery areas for crustaceans in the marsh plant community. Height will vary from 4 to 9 feet. Leaves are 1 to 5 inches long, elliptical, opposite, thick, leathery, dark green, glabrous (smooth) above, and grayish with a tight felt-like pubescence beneath. Glands on the underside secrete salt. Clusters of small sessile flowers with white petals, approximately ½ inch in diameter, are borne in the leaf axils or growing tips on the twigs. The fruit are flat, approximately 1 inch long, dark green and glabrous beneath a velvety pericarp. The bark on the black mangrove is thick, dark brown or blackish, with rough irregular flattened scales. Twigs are grayish in color and smooth, with enlargements at the joints. Mangrove detritus (dead leaves and twigs) in water feeds microorganisms that provide food for young marine life.
Distribution: For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.
Habitat: Black mangrove grows in the intertidal zone throughout the Gulf of Mexico. Black mangrove is a truly unique plant species that, when established properly, and under applicable conditions, has provided land stabilization due to the easy transport of seedlings, quick aerial root production, Best practice has been to plant two to three year old seedlings because underground root systems increase sediment holding capabilities. This plant also provides for wildlife and marine habitats. (USDA/NRCS Plant Guide: Small, J.K 1933.)
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