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Publication #FPS502

Rhizophora mangle Red Mangrove1

Edward F. Gilman2


Red mangrove is one of the most valuable trees for creating and preserving shorelines in south Florida and the Caribbean Basin. Sediments depositing among their adventitious prop roots can eventually build up to create land. Seeds often germinate while they are still on the tree. After they drop, they float to a new location where they can begin growing in the sediment below the water surface.

Figure 1. 

Rhizophora mangle red mangrove.


Ed Gilman, UF/IFAS

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

General Information

Scientific name: Rhizophora mangle
Pronunciation: rye-ZOFF-for-ruh MAN-glee
Common name(s): red mangrove
Family: Rhizophoraceae
Plant type: tree
USDA hardiness zones: 10 through 11 (Fig. 2)
Planting month for zone 10 and 11: year round
Origin: native to Florida
Uses: reclamation plant
Availability: somewhat available, may have to go out of the region to find the plant

Figure 2. 

Shaded area represents potential planting range.

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]


Height: 20 to 40 feet
Spread: 20 to 30 feet
Plant habit: round
Plant density: dense
Growth rate: moderate
Texture: medium


Leaf arrangement: opposite/subopposite
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: entire
Leaf shape: elliptic (oval)
Leaf venation: none, or difficult to see
Leaf type and persistence: evergreen
Leaf blade length: 4 to 8 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: no fall color change
Fall characteristic: not showy


Flower color: yellow
Flower characteristic: year-round flowering


Fruit shape: oval
Fruit length: .5 to 1 inch
Fruit cover: dry or hard
Fruit color: brown
Fruit characteristic: persists on the plant

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: showy
Current year stem/twig color: brown
Current year stem/twig thickness: medium


Light requirement: plant grows in full sun
Soil tolerances: acidic; alkaline; sand; loam; clay
Soil salt tolerances: good
Plant spacing: 36 to 60 inches


Roots: can form large surface roots
Winter interest: no special winter interest
Outstanding plant: not particularly outstanding
Invasive potential: not known to be invasive
Pest resistance: no serious pests are normally seen on the plant

Use and Management

Red mangroves will often be seen growing in shallow lagoons away from the land. Plants typically reach 20 feet tall, although old specimens 35 feet tall are not uncommon in undisturbed, natural settings. Plants respond poorly to pruning.



This document is FPS502, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at


Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.