- Scientific name: Rhizophora mangle
- Family: Rhizophoraceae (red mangrove)
Aquatic tree or shrub up to 20m tall. Bark greyish-brown, becoming thick and furrowed with age. Leaves opposite, not divided into leaflets (simple), entire margin, elliptical, thick and leathery. Prop roots originating from the stem or trunk of the plant, 2–4.5m tall. Flowers bisexual, approximately 2cm long, bell-shaped, greenish-yellow. Fruits reddish-brown berries around 25cm long. Pollinated by wind or self-pollinated.
Red mangroves growing at Eden
Dan tells us about the red mangroves growing in our rainforest.Play video
- The prop roots help to prevent this aquatic tree from being knocked over by the current or tide.
- Red mangroves are chopped down to provide timber for building, fencing, fuel and charcoal; they are planted to stabilise and reduce erosion of coastal land.
- Extracts from the bark can produce tannins used for staining and leather making, and are used medicinally, with recent research suggesting they have antioxidant properties and can reduce stomach ulcers.
- Fishing communities rely on the mangrove to provide a habitat for fish and other marine organisms.
Where it grows
This species is native to both Atlantic coasts: from Florida in the US to southern Brazil in the Americas, and from Senegal to Angola in western Africa. It can be found in intertidal regions of sheltered tropical and subtropical coasts where it typically dominates areas close to open water.