DSCN9988Down here in the tropics of South Florida we see red mangroves (Rhizophora mangle) all along the intracoastal waterway. This amazing plant grows on aerial prop roots which provide a habitat for small fish, birds, crustaceans and other small animals (75 percent of the game fish and 90 percent of the commercial species are dependent on mangrove environments), prevents erosion by stablilizing low areas and in some cases even creates land. One of three varieties of mangroves found in the US (black mangrove and white mangrove are the other two), red mangoves are considered threatened in many locations here and is a protected species with limits on how and where it can be trimmed or removed.

Just imagine a native plant that can do all that — and it grows in salt water!