Piles & piles of propagules

Mangrove, Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area

Piles and piles of mangrove propagules are mounded up on the mosquito control dikes at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area (ORCA) and elsewhere. Propagules are the “live young” of mangroves. They are not seeds because they are not dormant. They fall from the “mother” plant ready to go.

Plants called mangroves do not belong to the same genus or even family. Plants are callled mangroves for 3 reasons:

  1. They bear “live young” (viviparous is the fancy term)
  2. They have some special mechanism to deal with salt
  3. They have a fidelity to brackish places (& are out-competed by other plants in freshwater settings)

Florida is home to 3 species of mangroves:

  1. Red mangroves (Rhizophora mangle)
  2. Black mangroves (Avicennia germinans)
  3. White mangroves (Laguncularia racemosa)

Their propagules are quite different in size and shape.

Red mangrove propagules resemble cigars. An amazing amount of red mangroves propagules were piled up, and some were managing to root …

A few even managed to hang onto to “mom” …

Black mangrove propagules look like lima beans …

… and some of them also were trying to root …

White mangrove propagules resemble sunflower seeds …

Buttonwood trees (Conocarpus erectus) often grow near to or even amongst mangroves but are considered mangrove “allies” — not mangroves — because they bear seeds not “live young”. The tall buttonwoods look pretty battered. Take note of the seeds that remain on the plant pictured below and are said to resemble the buttons on the high-topped shoes of ladies of yesteryear and give this plant its common name …