Magazine article Natural History

Habitats

Magazine article Natural History

Habitats

Article excerpt

Mangroves The prop roots of the red mangrove trap sediments and other types of organic material, creating a habitat suitable for marine and estuarine organisms. These areas also serve as nursery grounds for fish and shellfish, as well as roosting and nesting areas for shorebirds and wading birds. The red mangrove is one of a very few flowering plants that are viviparous; that is, it produces living young that stay on the parent tree for a short while. After pollination and fertilization of the flowers, the elongated pods remain attached to the parent tree while they form roots at the bottom end and embryonic leaves at the opposite end. When the pod gets heavy enough, it falls straight down from the tree. If the pointed end with the roots penetrates the mucky soil, the offspring has successfully planted itself and already has its root system and shoot system established. …

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