May. 1, 2018

red mangrove, Rhizophora mangle

Mangrove swamps are often considered unwelcoming places. They form dense thickets along coasts around the world. They are hugely important to coastline ecosystems. Red mangroves have a very unusual reproduction system. The seed has no dormant period. It begins growing immediately after fertilization. It develops a foot long root that resembles a bean pod. When it does fall, it floats in the water for up to a year before it encounters a good stopping place. The resulting plant develops new roots that lift it up much higher above the tides. Mangrove swamps are home to a multitude of other animals and plants. And also the Overseas Highway in the Florida Keys, which enabled this image while staying out of the muck. Red mangrove grows in FL, GA, HI, LA, NC, SC, and TX. Monroe Co FL, 1/26/13.