Mangroves of the Florida Keys and Key West

Here, a guide is fishing near a Red Mangrove. Photo courtesy of Captain Steven Lamp.

If you have been to the Florida Keys you have definitely seen a mangrove. So what exactly is a mangrove? No, it is not a magical creature from Harry Potter. Mangroves are a tropical species of trees that grow in salty environments and are tolerant of flooding. They are unique as they are able to get freshwater from saltwater, secreting excess salt through their leaves. Being a tropical plant, mangroves are sensitive to temperature fluctuations and freezing temperatures.

Mangroves have complex root systems that collect sand to create islands. These roots also become home to organisms such as barnacles, oysters, algae, and small fish. They basically act as a nursery for small fish. Furthermore, the branches provide a wonderful nesting areas for seabirds such as herons and pelicans.

Mangroves also provide protection from storm surge and erosion to the shoreline. And they remove pollutants from the waters, helping to make the Florida waters clean and clear. Because of the important role that mangroves play to our environment and the eco-system here in Florida, they are protected.

There are about fifty types of mangroves worldwide, but Florida is home to only three of them; the Red Mangrove, the Black Mangrove, and the White Mangrove. The Buttonwood is a forth species related to the White Mangrove, but is is considered an upland species in Florida.

The Red Mangrove lives closest to the water. They are known as “walking trees” because they creep into new areas by branching roots.

The Black Mangrove lives landward of the Red Mangrove. These are identified by their finger-like projections around the base of the tree.

The White Mangrove does not typically have visible roots, and they live further away from the water. They are identified by their yellow-green leaves, often notched at the top.

If you book a backcountry fishing charter, chances are that you will be fishing around small mangrove islands, like in the picture above. Check out Dream Catcher Charters for flats and backcountry fishing information.

To see what is happening on Key West during your visit, check out our Key West Events Calendar to see other upcoming special events. For more information about the fun side of Key West… things to do and see in our island city, go to our Key West Web Site.

And, before deciding where you are going to eat while visiting Key West or the rest of the Florida Keys, be sure to read Island Genn’s  restaurant reviews; check out our restaurant review section of this blog.

Feel free to Email Me if you have any questions about Key West!!


About the author: Island Genn

Related Posts