Mangroves at Caladesi
Mangroves are trees that can be often be found along the water. They’re easy to identify by their prop roots – finger-like roots that hold the trees above the water in a tangle of shoots. These prop roots serve an important purpose – by having part of the root above water and part of it submerged, the roots above water can absorb oxygen and share it with the roots below.
Red mangroves are the most abundant form of mangrove tree in the park. Red mangrove seeds drop off the tree already forming roots. If they land in soil, they’ll immediately begin to take root and form a new mangrove tree. If they land in water, they will float along the water’s surface, eventually finding a new area where they can grow.
Many animals rely on mangroves for their survival. The prop roots that hold the mangroves above the water serve as a nursery for baby fish and crustaceans, who can hide from larger predators in the maze of roots. The trees also serve as a buffer for the coast against the strong winds and waves of storms that would otherwise damage shorelines.
Caladesi Island State Park is a great place to see these unique trees in person!