Mangroves

mangroves

Florida mangroves. Photo © Cathleen Bester / Florida Museum

Introduction

  • Mangroves live in wet saline habitats and reproduce through viviparity
  • The term "mangrove" refers to certain species of plant life or to the entire plant community which includes individual mangrove species
  • There are more than 50 species within 12 families of mangroves distributed worldwide along tropical coastlines

keys mangrove shoreline

Mangrove shoreline in the Florida Keys. Photo © Cathleen Bester / Florida Museum

The term "mangrove" does not refer to a specific taxonomic group of species, but to all halophytic (plants growing in saline soils) species of tropical trees and shrubs. This catchall, diverse group includes 12 families and more than 50 species. Although unrelated, all are adapted to life in wet soils, saline habitats, and periodic tidal submergence.

Another use of the term "mangrove" includes the entire plant community including the individual mangrove species. Terms such as tidal forest, tidal swamp forest, mangrove community, mangrove forest, mangal, and mangrove swamp are synonymous with "mangrove".