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Coastal Plants of Florida: Large Images and Text Below by Leigh Fughum, Botanist
Black Mangrove Geiger Tree Gumbo Limbo Black Mangrove Red Mangrove Restoration

Until recently, the only visible air pollution emissions in Broward County were those of the FPL smokestacks in Port Everglades. Suddenly, we heard they were going down, and sure enough, to the delight of many a heart, one day they were gone forever.

As the biggest single concentrated source of marine pollution in Broward County, Florida, Port Everglades is now the most conspicuously buffered area of contamination, resulting in hundreds of beautiful acres of restored mangrove swamps and salt marshes which fifty years ago were valueless wasteland, though probably made so from the original Port construction activities. Nevertheless, someone at the Port is doing the right thing. As a consultant in the field of impacts and mitigation, I have not seen any foot-dragging or corner-cutting by the powerful Port Authority when it comes to completing their environmental mitgation, not one bit like I have seen with real estate developers. The work has proceeded steadily and without waste, gross failures and do-overs.

Considering that coastal development has been allowed to infringe right up to the edge of the Port Everglades inlet on the north, from the west and south, and from the east by the barrier island of the Park which is also being restored to a degree, the Dania and Hollywood, Florida coastal zone is as buffered and filtered from Port-related pollution as one can reasonably expect.

Wetlands mitgation is very expensive, because it is little-understood, and the contracts are so large and demanding it can be like putting in for the Hoover Dam. So yes, its the same good old boys who pave who get to save- but the important thing is that this work HAS been done well, creating essential nutrient sinks, fish nursery habitat, shoreline stabilization, bird sanctuaries, and many acres of urban watery wilderness which may be enjoyed passively in canoes, rowboats, or kayaks.

Various picnic areas and egresses into the lagoons have been made in Holland Park, Ann Kolb Nature Center, and Westlake Park.

Black and Red Mangrove

Passive Boat Launch Area, Broward County including Mangrove Restoration Area:

June 2018:

Black Mangrove (Avicennia germinans) blooming in foreground

Red Mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) on edge of brackish lagoon

Water quality: clear

Geiger Tree

Native Trees:

Geiger Tree

Though we are encouraged to plant native trees, shrubs and herbs, some natives will only thrive closest to their natural origins. Cordia sebestena , Geiger Tree is a native naturally occuring in dune environments, that as a landscape designer, I have found to be unpredictable inland, even on very dry sites. Off the beach, it is more susceptible to insects and fungi, under which circumstances it can look awful. Some of us just need to be in the right place to thrive.


Gumbo Limbo

Native Trees:

Gumbo Limbo is one of South Florida's most wonderful trees- perfectly adapted for the climate and hurricane winds, loaded with beauty, interest and character, and easily propagated into instant new trees by judiciously removing a whole branch.

I was taught how to do this many years ago by a couple who had lived their very long lives on Palm Beach Island. Their house was modest, for The Island, just two blocks off the beach. Their charming yard and garden was their pride and joy, originally planned and planted by one of the best, and lovingly maintained by the two who delighted showing off every wonderful detail to me when I visited.

The original plan had one stately Gumbo Limbo in a corner, around which was a terraced garden planting. From this, over the years, had been made a virtual grove of beautiful GumboLimbo running along the hot west elevation of the house. Beneath this, parallel with the lot line (I think it was someone from Van Halen who lived next door...), a clothesline, on concrete posts perhaps from 1925, was enveloped in festoons of yellow honeysuckle.

At the time I came along, the gent of the house had ambitiously undertaken creating a new gouping of Gumbo Limbo in his front yard. These were instant 15' tall branched trees he had arranged and staked from cut limbs of his existing trees. I arrived one day in my van and he had a group of large limbs laid out neatly on the lawn. Without any help from the ladies, he tied these to my luggage racks before I could utter a protest.

"I've been callousing them over for you all week, " he said proudly. " Callousing is the secret. Cut the branches but don't plant them right away. Let them callous."

Now, this man was personal friends with the Palm Agricultural Extension Agent, and had been with the others before him. Every tip he ever gave I have taken.

I was much younger, though, and was not particularly enthusiastic about doing the work of planting four trees at my leased house. But these branches were a precious gift, and today my friends are long in their graves. When I drive past the old place and see those branches grown into beautiful, mature Florida native trees, I am glad I did it. Though I know not who occupies the land there, on it is a memorial of one of the most wonderful friendships I have ever had.

Black Mangrove


Late June 2016: Black Mangrove (Avicennia germinans) blooming in man-made mangrove restoration area in Broward County, Florida

Mangrove Restoration Area Broward County: Inside a man made mangrove swamp looking east across channel engineered to Intracoastal waterway.
Coccoloba uvifera- Seagrape

Coccoloba uvifera


An ancient Seagrape surrounded by younger shrubs planted in a restoration area of Dania Beach, Florida, Broward County.


Mangrove Identification Images and Seasonal Difference in Life Cycles 2008 and 2016:

July 2016: Red Mangrove propagules are mature in many areas

August 2008: Red Mangrove was just entering Flowering Stage

Red Mangrove in Bud








8/13/2008 Coastal Plants of Florida

Mangrove species now in various stages of flower and fruit development

The seeds of the Florida coastal wetlands trees, collectively called mangroves, are all buoyant structures, maturing and falling during the late active phase of the hurricane season.

Red mangrove, Rhizophora mangle is currently in various of its reproductive stages from bud to fruiting to formation of seedlings with conspicuous radicles observed up to10" in length..

Rhizophora mangle Red Mangrove

Red Mangrove Flowering







The calyx persists as the elongating radicle develops. Seedlings are not ready to develop until they fall from the remnant fruiting structure. Pulling them from trees while the growing tip is still within the seed coat damages the seedling.


Black Mangrove Fruiting Stage

Black Mangrove early fruit

Avicennia germinans, black mangrove., beginning to fruit


White Mangrove almost at Seed Stage

White Mangrove late flowering

Laguncularia racemosa, white mangrove is in late flowering stage.


Post text and photos by Leigh Fulghum


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