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Avicennia germinans (Black mangrove)
Romfh, Peggy

Avicennia germinans

Avicennia germinans (L.) L.

Black Mangrove

Verbenaceae (Verbena Family)

Synonym(s): Avicennia nitida


USDA Native Status: L48 (N), PR (N), VI (N)

Evergreen shrub or, in tropical regions, a tree with rounded crown of spreading branches. This tropical shrub bears thick, elliptic, evergreen leaves and small, white flowers with dark-spotted corollas. The 1 1/2-2 1/2 in. long leaves are dark-green above, pale-gray hairy beneath. Black mangrove can become tree-like and reach a height of 50 ft., but it is usually much shorter. The bark is dark gray and smooth at first, becoming scaly on larger trunks. Many upright, unbranched roots are exposed. Black Mangrove is the hardiest of the four species forming the mangrove swamp forests of southern Florida. It penetrates farthest inland into brackish water of rivers and farthest north along the Gulf Coast, where it becomes smaller and shrubby and is killed in cold winters. New seedlings, however, invade from seeds transported by currents and persist a few years. An important honey plant, it yields clear whitish honey of high quality. The other three native mangroves are tropical trees confined mostly to southern Florida but do extend northward along the coast to the central part of that state.

This species is a member of the verbena family (family Verbenaceae), which includes about 75 genera and 3,000 species of herbs, shrubs, and trees, mostly of tropical and warm temperate regions. Among them, teak is a highly prized furniture wood, and Vervain, Lantana, Lippia or Frog Fruit, and Chase Tree or Vitex are grown as ornamentals.


From the Image Gallery

6 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Lanceolate
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 20 feet tall, often much shorter.
Leaf: Grayish hue due to fine hairs.
Flower: Flowers 10 mm across.
Fruit: 3 cm.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep


USA: FL , LA , MS , TX
Native Distribution: S. FL & sporadically along the Gulf to s. coastal TX
Native Habitat: Tidal marshes, behind the red mangrove fringe

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Saline tolerant, Saline to brackish water.
Conditions Comments: Can bloom occasionally during any part of the year. Useful for canal bank stabilization and as a hedge bordering bodies of salt water.


Use Ornamental: Attractive, Blooms ornamental, Erosion control
Use Wildlife: Nectar-insects, Seeds-granivorous birds, Seeds-Small mammals, Cover, Nesting site
Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Description: May be propagated by seed. When the seed coat cracks, a pair of thick, green seed leaves and a tiny stem are exposed, all ready to grow.
Commercially Avail: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.


Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender

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Web Reference

Webref 57 - Atlas of Florida Plants (2020) Institute for Systematic Botany
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Avicennia germinans in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Avicennia germinans in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Avicennia germinans


Record Modified: 2022-11-23
Research By: TWC Staff

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