|Black mangroves dominate scenes in Cedar Key's backwater areas.|
Mangroves reproduce prodigiously, and over time tend to form dense canopies that shade out salt marsh plants and other shoreline vegetation.
|Reproduction of black mangroves under the Cemetery Point boardwalk. Young plants with leaves, interspersed in this image with the leafless pneumatophorees extending from the roots of larger trees.|
|Red mangrove seen from the observation deck at Cemetery Point.|
|Small red mangrove seen from the Cemetery Point boardwalk.|
Red mangroves can be distinguished from black mangroves by four different characteristics. The most striking difference is in their distinctive prop roots, which row out from their trunks and curve down into the moist soil. Their leaves are broader than black mangrove leaves, and they are a more vibrant green than the grayish green leaves of black mangroves. Finally, they tend to have trunks that grow straight upward, rather than branching near the base, as in black mangroves.
A single hard freeze could kill most of our red mangroves, but even then a few are likely to persist. And, if our climate continues to warm as is predicted, our wetlands are in for continued change.