This small mangrove plant is growing in an area near Marco Island where there's a bit of current, and when the tide rips water washes amoung the roots. I used a palette, or painting knife to add some texture and interest, but used a brush, too.
Most mangroves live on the edges of a stream, waterway, or river, and at the edges of the gulf where the water is a quiet backwash althougoh they can take root anywhere there's a bit of soil. Their multiple roots mitigate wave action and trap sediment.
Many animals find shelter either in the roots or branches of mangroves. The mangrove produces large amounts of organic detritus by shedding leaves, flowers and branches which provides food for a multitude of marine species such as snook, snapper, tarpon, jack, sheepshead, red drum, oysters, and shrimp. They also support a large insect population and serve as rookeries, for coastal birds such as brown pelicans, a variety of egrets and commerants, and the lovely roseate spoonbills.
The mangroves live in a salt environment, and can tolerate more salt in their tissues, often at levels that would kill other plants. Some of the sale is excluded at root level. It's believed that excess salt is stored in the older leaves which are then shed. Mangroves are protected by law as a valuable natural resource.
Mangroves, In the Stream painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 16"x20"