Avicennia germinans (L.) L.
Common Name: Black Mangrove
Habit: Avicennia germinans
grows as a low shrub to tall tree (up to ten meters) with trunks up
to 75 cm wide. The leaves are arranged oppositely, lanceolate in
shape and will exude salt crystals over their lower surface. The
leaf color is a dull grayish yellow-green. The roots produce
pneumatophores rising up to 20 centimeters above ground to allow
oxygen to get to the roots during periods of flooding.
The flowers are arranged in terminal
and axillary spikes up to 7.5 cm long and are zygomorphic. The calyx
has five unfused sepals that are pubescent on the outside. The
corolla has four partially fused petals that are yellowish white and
pubescent. The fruit is a capsule and will be over two cm at
maturity. The seeds germinate while still attached to the parent
Habitat: Avicennia germinans
grows in both saline and brackish environments in coastal and inland
aquatic systems. Occurring intermixed with red mangroves as shrubs
or often as tall trees in areas of deeper water.
Distribution in Bahamas/Globally:
Avicennia germinans grows on all islands of the Bahamas as
well as the Caribbean region and Bermuda, the southern United States
and Mexico along the gulf coast. They also occur in Central America,
parts of South America and West Africa.
Cultural usage/Economic value:
Avicennia germinans as with all mangrove species are builders
of land, trapping organic debris before it enters aquatic systems and
building up humus. Additionally they protect shorelines during
hurricanes. They have been used as a source for honey production.
The wood is purple in color and has been used for woodcarvings.
Avicennia germinans has a long history of medicinal usage.
Teas are used to treat gastrointestinal and dermatological problems
as well as hemorrhoids.