This is the fifth installment of 12 Things to Experience on an Everglades Airboat Tour which can also be downloaded as a free eBook.
Mangroves are one of the true Florida natives. Florida has an estimated 469,000 acres of mangrove forests. These mangroves are huge factors contributing to the overall health of the state’s southern coastal zone. They provide an ecosystem which traps and cycles various organic materials, chemical elements, and important nutrients.
The roots of a mangrove act not only as physical traps, but also provide a surface for various marine organisms to attach themselves. Many of these attached organisms can also filter water through their bodies and, in turn, trap and cycle nutrients.
Mangroves actually thrive in salty environments because they are able to obtain fresh water from the saltwater. Some mangroves secrete excess salt through their leaves, others are able to block absorption of salt at their roots. In Florida, there are 3 species of Mangroves:
Red Mangrove – This is the most well-known species of mangrove in Florida. It grows along the water’s edge, and is easily identified by its tangled, reddish roots. These are called prop roots. Because of their roots, these types of mangroves are sometimes called walking trees, as they appear to be standing or walking on the surface of the water.
Black mangrove – The Black Mangrove usually lives in slightly higher elevated areas from the red mangrove. This species can be identified by numerous finger-like projections, called pneumatophores, which protrude from the soil around the tree’s trunk.
White mangrove – These mangroves typically occupy the highest elevations. They live further upland than either the red or black mangroves. Unlike the other Florida mangroves, the White mangrove has no visible aerial root systems. The easiest way to identify these mangroves are by their leaves. They are light, yellow-green, and have two distinguishing glands at the base of the leaf blade where the stem starts.
Are you ready to see one of the true Florida natives guided by a U.S. Coast Guard licensed captain? Come see us at Captain Doug’s Everglades Tours located in Everglades City. Our airboat tours depart continuously – about every 30 minutes and every day of the year including Thanksgiving and Christmas. Bring your $10 off coupon and start your adventure today! If you have further question about us or if you are ready to book your trip contact us online, call us toll free at 1-800-282-9194, or follow Captain Doug’s on Twitter.
- Captain Doug