Avicennia germinans (L.)L.
The most wide ranging of the mangroves in Florida, black mangroves can be found in coastal counties as far north as St. Johns County on the east coast and Levy County on the west, plus Taylor and Franklin Counties. Also occurs in Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. The range includes Mexico, much of the Caribbean and parts of Central and South America,
One of the most distinctive features of Avicennia germinans are the pneumatophores. These are erect aerial roots that allow the plant to breathe. They are narrow. mostly straight, vertical roots that resemble skinny stalagmites surrounding the plant. Black mangroves have small tubular flowers with four white petals that are borne in conical clusters. The fruit is a flattened green pod from 3-5 cm long, asymmetrical in shape with pointed apices, somewhat resembling a large misshapen lima bean. Mangrove fruit is called a propagule. Propagules are disbursed by floating and germinate before coming to rest. Germination can happen while still on the tree, which is known as vivipary.
The common name black mangrove refers to the dark-brown to black heartwood of this plant. The genus was named by Carl Linnaeus in honor of the Persian philosopher-scientist Abu Ali Al-Husayn Ibn ‘Abd Allah Ibn Sina (980-1037), who went by the alias Avicennia. The specific epithet, is derived from the Latin germinare, to germinate.
This is one of the four species in three separate families that are considered mangroves, a grouping made due to their shared habitat and each species' unique adaptations for tolerating the salt-water environment. The other Florida native members of this group are the red mangrove, white mangrove and buttonwood, or button mangrove.
The genus Avicennia has previously been considered a member of the Verbenaceae family.
The Wild Florida Photo Mangrove page.
Avicennia germinans is a member of the Acanthaceae - Acanthus family.
Date record last modified: Nov 10, 2023