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the white mangroves in the IRL

White Mangroves in Central Florida

Florida's Coastline Estuaries and Forest Habitat

Wednesday April 26, 2017

Florida's coastal floodplains and shorelines are teaming with life in the mangrove lined waterways. White Mangroves are prominently shared with their cousins the Red Mangrove and the Black Mangroves. The difference between the species of mangroves are obvious after carefully looking at the tangle of roots entwined on the muddy shoreline and their leaves.

Most of the time white mangroves roots grow upward like stalagmites rather than downward and arching like the red mangroves however, I've observed a few white mangroves that have downward prop roots similar to the red mangroves that grow on the waterfronts and in the water. These roots help filter and add rich oxygen and nutrients to the estuaries. Typically white mangroves have sparser roots systems than either of it's cousins the red or black and often grow further inland than too.

The leaves of the white mangrove are round at both ends and kindof rubbery and smoother than other species of mangroves. The photograph above is a photo of white mangrove leaves.

White Mangrove Information

The white mangrove is different from other Florida mangroves and can be identified by its leaves and roots. The leaves are rounded at the base and the tip and are smooth underneath. Each leaf has two glands, called nectarines, at its base that excrete sugar. Many insects feed on the excreted sugar.

Depending on habitat conditions, the white mangrove may possess pneumataphores and/or proproots. Pneumatophores are cone-shaped extensions of the root system protruding from the ground. Pneumatophores are thought to function as the trees' means of obtaining oxygen for the roots during flooded conditions. Prop roots are tall arching roots originating from trunks and branches. The white mangrove is fast growing in fertile habitats.

A common belief that the mangroves build land is usually not true. However, after they colonize newly formed sandbars and embankments, their roots may entrap and accumulate soil, helping to stabilize soil during rough weather.

Occupying higher land than the red and black mangroves, the white mangrove (Languncularia racemosa) has no visible aerial roots, unlike the black mangrove which has pneumatophores and the red mangrove with prop roots. However, when it is found in oxygen-depleted sediments or flooded for extended periods of time, it often develops peg roots.

White mangroves are the least cold-tolerant of the three mangrove species found in Florida, occurring from Levy County and Volusia County southward in Florida. This small tree or shrub grows rapidly in rich soils to heights of 50 feet (15 m). The light yellow-green leaves are broad and flat with two glands located at the base of the leaf where the stem originates. These glands excrete salts taken in through the underground root system. White mangroves produce greenish-white flowers in spikes, blooming from spring to early summer.


1). Ichthyology at the Florida Museum of Natural History "South Florida Mangrove Species Profiles" Florida Museum of Natural History

2). School of Forest Resources & Conservation "Florida Forest Trees White Mangrove" School of Forest Resources & Conservation

This species of mangrove prefers to take a back seat to the waterline and is usually behind the waterfront cousins of the red or black mangroves. Offering shorter roots in a dryer habitat than other mangroves, the white mangrove often looked over by anglers in boats.

Published by: Captain of Lagooner Fishing Guides©

Author Captain Richard Bradley

Captain Richard Bradley is the author and contributor for many of the articles written on the Lagooner website. Richard is a professional fishing guide, taking anglers in his native waters near the Banana and Mosquito Lagoons on Florida's central east coast almost three hundred trips seasonally. When not charter fishing, Captain Richard enjoys time with his family surfing, fishing, camping and various other outdoor activities.

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White Mangrove Information

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