Avicennia germinans (L.) L., Sp. Pl., ed. 3, 2: 891. 1764; Bontia germinans L.; A. nitida Jacq.
Arboles o arbustos, 310 m de alto. Hojas angostas, elíptico-oblongas, 6.510 cm de largo y 1.53 cm de ancho, ápice agudo (agudo-redondeado), base cuneada. Inflorescencia panícula de espigas 1 (2)-compuesta, ca 9 cm de largo y 25 cm de ancho, flores agrupadas en los extremos, bráctea floral ovada, 2.53 mm de largo, bractéolas lanceoladas 2.54 mm de largo; cáliz 3.54.5 mm de largo; corola 4.58 mm de largo; estambres con anteras exertas, filamentos 2.54 mm de largo, todos similares y filiformes. Fruto ovado-oblicuo, apiculado, 1.52 cm de largo y 11.5 cm de ancho, escasamente seríceo.
Común, en manglares, estuarios y playas, en las zonas pacífica y atlántica; 010 m; fl dicjul, fr juloct; Stevens 2743, 20110; en la costa del Atlántico desde los Estados Unidos (sur de Florida) hasta Panamá, en las Antillas, en el oeste de Africa, y en el Pacífico desde México hasta Perú. "Mangle negro".
Erect or spreading low shrubs or handsome and symmetric slender trees, 12-14 (-25) m high, sometimes bushy, usually intermixed with other mangroves but
normally exceeding them in height; trunk short, to 50 cm in diameter; bole crooked, sometimes to 40 cm diameter at breast height; roots deep-seated; pneu- matophores many, small, erect, about as thick as a pencil, projecting 5-10 cm above the water, leafless; stilt-roots absent; bark from black or dark-brown to dark reddish-brown or gray, yellow when scraped, smoothish, sparsely longitudinally cracked or shallowly fissured and rather scaly; branches spreading, crooked; branchlets and twigs slender, often more or less articulate, brownish, more or less tetragonal, often obscurely margined at the angles, glabrous or minutely grayish-tomentellous, often shiny, sparsely lenticellate with scattered corky len- ticels; nodes swollen, distinctly annulate. Leaves with the blades firmly char- taceous or subcoriaceous, varying from gray- or bright-green to rich- or dark-green and shiny above, usually pale or gray-silvery beneath, occasionally brunnescent or nigrescent on both surfaces in drying, lanceolate or lanceolate-oblong to oblong, elliptic, or obovate, 4.5-15 cm long and 1.8-4.4 cm wide, entire, acute to blunt or obtuse apically, acute or acuminate to cuneate basally, glabrous but densely impressed-punctulate above, varying from uniformly and densely whitish- or grayish-furfuraceous or tomentellous (with closely appressed furf) to glabrous and more or less punctate beneath, the furf apparently deciduous in patches in some forms; petioles slender, 2-27 mm long, flattened and canaliculate above, convex beneath, mealy or glabrous, often wrinkled in drying. Inflorescences axillary and terminal, spicate or subcapitate, the spikes 1.5-6.5 cm long and 1-1.5 cm wide during anthesis, the axillary spikes usually confined to 1 pair at the base of the terminal and shorter than it or another pair in the next lower axjl, dense. Flowers usually opposite, 1-15 pairs per spike, sessile, sometimes few and distant or close and decussate or densely glomerate-crowded, small, irregular, 1-2 cm wide during anthesis, fragrant, highly nectariferous; bractlets and prophylla light- green, ovate or oblong, sessile, closely appressed to the calyx, obtuse or acute apically, densely sericeous-pubescent; calyx light-green, the lobes ovate, 3-5 mm long and 2-3 mm wide, densely appressed-pubescent outside, glabrous within, in fruit enlarged but not at all incrassate or indurated, 5-parted practically to the base, ca. 9 mm wide, each lobe ovate-lanceolate, ca. 4 mm long and 2 mm wide, acute, densely appressed canescent-strigose outside, glabrous and shiny within; corolla campanulate, yellow or cream to white, apparently yellow when first opening, later turning white, sometimes white with a yellow throat or cream with an orange throat, occasionally creamy on the lobes and brown below, 12-20 mm long and ca. 10 mm wide, parted to about the middle, the tube equaling or shorter than the calyx, practically glabrous, the lobes spreading, unequal, 2-2.5 mm long, oblong or subquadrate, rounded apically, densely cinereous-pubescent outside, velutinous-tomentose within, finally so completely reflexed as to touch the corolla- tube; stamens slightly exserted from the corolla-tube, included by the lobes, finally blackish and conspicuous when the lobes become completely reflexed; style as long as the stamens; stigma bilobed. Fruit oblong or elliptic to more or less obpyriform and asymmetric, 1.2-5 cm long and 7-13 mm wide, often turning almost plum-color when exposed to the sun, apiculate apically when young, densely whitish-tomentellous throughout, often also more or less white-strigose, especially apically and on the apiculation.
Avicennia germinans grows as a low shrub to tall tree (up to ten meters) with trunks up to 75 cm wide. The leaves are arranged oppositely, lanceolate in shape and will exude salt crystals over their lower surface. The leaf color is a dull grayish yellow-green. The roots produce pneumatophores rising up to 20 centimeters above ground to allow oxygen to get to the roots during periods of flooding. The complete, perfect, zygomorphic flowers are arranged in terminal and axillary spikes up to 7.5 cm long and are zygomorphic. The calyx has 5 unfused sepals that are pubescent on the outside. The corolla has 4 partially fused petals that are yellowish white and pubescent. The fruit is a capsule and will be over two cm at maturity. The seeds germinate while still attached to the parent plant.
Avicennia germinans grows in both saline and brackish environments in coastal and inland aquatic systems. Occurring intermixed with red mangroves as shrubs or often as tall trees in areas of deeper water.
In mangrove lagoons from Florida and Texas, Bermuda, and the Bahamas, throughout the West Indies, both coasts of Mexico, through Central America, to the coasts of Brazil and Peru; also in the Galapagos and other islands off the coasts of tropical and subtropical America.
Avicennia germinans grows on all island groupings in the Lucayan Archipelago as well as the Caribbean region and Bermuda, the southern United States and Mexico along the gulf coast. They also occur in Central America, parts of South America and West Africa.
Avicennia germinans as with all mangrove species are builders of land, trapping organic debris before it enters aquatic systems and building up humus. Additionally they protect shorelines during hurricanes. They have been used as a source for honey production. The wood is purple in color and has been used for woodcarvings. Avicennia germinans has a long history of medicinal usage. Teas are used to treat gastrointestinal and dermatological problems as well as hemorrhoids.