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Buttonwood mangrove

The buttonwood mangrove produces a button-like flower. Conocarpus erectus is prostrate in sandy or rocky terrain but otherwise erect, thus either a shrub or a tree between 1.5 to 10 m tall. The species is resilient to high winds, with dark green leaves that vary in size and shape according to the wind shear. Buttonwood mangrove is also resistant to drought and seawater spray, and tolerates compacted soils, with up to 10g/kg salinity, poor drainage, air pollution and shade, though it does not grow under the canopy of trees. Older buttonwood mangroves have a rough bark and often host epiphytes.

Buttonwood mangroves are not viviparous and usually occupy the upper boundary of mangrove forests, protecting intertidal mangroves from land-based impacts. For these reasons, the species is not considered a true mangrove and often classified as a mangrove associate. Nonetheless, Buttonwood is a salt-excreting species and has pointed leaves equipped with salt glands along the mid-rib of their undersides. Buttonwood flowers and bares fruit all year long and its floating seeds are dispersed by water. Conocarpus erectus produces a good quantity of seeds, yet many do not survive, seed viability a mere 12 percent.

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