Species Spotlight: Red Mangrove Tree

Walking around the mangrove forest this time of year you will get to see Red Mangrove trees sprouting with new life! These trees germinate their seeds before they leave the host tree, ensuring future generations get a good start.

Come visit the ELC's 1 mile of boardwalk trails for an up close look at this special tree!

Prop roots and propagules

Red mangroves are easily identified by their remarkable above ground prop roots. These prop roots transport air to the tree's below ground water logged roots and help stabilize the tree against strong currents and damaging winds of tropical storms.

What makes mangroves unique is the viviparous "seeds" called propagules, which become fully mature plants before dropping off the parent tree. They can float in the water and be carried a great distance before embedding in the bottom. This migration of propagules is important for mangrove forest to establish in new areas, like you may see on the spoil island in the lagoon.

The red mangrove is the pioneer species of mangrove trees and will be found closest to the water along the edge. They survive in the Indian River Lagoon's brackish water by excluding the salt from the water entering the tree through filtration at the surface of the root.

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