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Tropical Seashores  : Mangrove

Avicennia germinans black mangrove   Acanthaceae

 

Avicennia-germinans, black mangrove
 

Avicennia germinans

Avicennia-germinans, black mangrove

It can grow to heights of 15 m (49 ft) in the tropics.
Like many other mangrove species, it reproduces by vivipary. Seeds are encased in a fruit, which reveals the germinated seedling when it falls into the water.
Unlike other mangrove species, it does not grow on prop roots, but possesses pneumatophores that allow its roots to breathe even when submerged. It is a hardy species and expels absorbed salt mainly from its leathery leaves.

The leaves often appear whitish from the salt excreted at night and on cloudy days. It is often found in its native range with the red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) and the white mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa). White mangroves grow inland from black mangroves which themselves grow inland from red mangroves. The three species work together to stabilize the shoreline, provide buffers from storm surges, trap debris and detritus brought in by tides, and provide feeding, breeding, and nursery grounds for a great variety of fish, shellfish, birds, and other wildlife.
The heartwood is dark-brown to black, while the sapwood is yellow-brown. It has the unusual property of having less dense heartwood than sapwood. The sapwood sinks in water while the heartwood floats. The wood is strong, heavy, and hard. The wood is difficult to work due to its interlocked grain and somewhat difficult to finish due to its oily texture. Uses include posts, pilings, charcoal, and fuel. In spite of the fact the tree grows in a marine environment, the dry wood is subject to attack by marine borers and termites. Like many species, it contains tannin in the bark and has been used to tan leather products.

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