Red Mangrove (Rhizophora stylosa)
The red mangrove can be commonly found in intertidal forest communities. Mangroves grow in fine grained soil rich in organic matter. Although rich in nutrients, the environment mangroves live in are very hostile, with low levels of oxygen and varying salinity. To adapt to this harsh environment, the mangrove has roots, called prop roots, which protrude above the soil. As they are exposed to the surroundings, these roots help the plant breathe by taking in oxygen. These roots also help anchor the plant to the soil, making sure it does not get washed away by the tide. To ensure that young mangrove are able to survive and do not get washed away by the tide, the mangrove seed pod floats horizontally on the seawater, but turns vertically and lodges itself into the mud when the tide is low and takes root. To deal with the high salinity level, its leaves have special salt glands which enable them to tolerate the storage of large amounts of salt in their leaves. They also restrict the opening of the stomata, allowing the mangrove to conserve its fresh water, which is vital for its survival in a saline environment.