Range: Tropical coastlines worldwide
Before Miami Beach was developed, the bay side of the island was covered with thick mangrove forest dominated by the red mangrove. Remnants of mangrove forest still exist along the shores of Biscayne Bay and are protected by law. Mangroves shield South Florida neighborhoods from the impacts of storm surge and perform other important functions, serving as nurseries for marine life and rookeries for birds.
The red mangrove has distinctive prop roots that help to anchor the plant. It is also unusual in having seeds that germinate while still attached to the mother plant. The seeds with emerging roots, called propagules,eventually fall into the water and float on ocean currents. Many wash up on the sands of Miami Beach where they are unable to grow, but some find suitable shallow and muddy spots to colonize and contribute to the resilience of our region.