Biomechanics of rhizophores in Rhizophora mangroves

Rhizophora mangle supports a thinner stem of higher mechanical resistance when compared to Avicennia germinans, a co-existing mangrove lacking rhizophores.
Biomechanics of rhizophores in Rhizophora mangroves
Biomechanics of rhizophores in Rhizophora mangroves

Rhizophora species of mangroves have a conspicuous system of stilt-like roots (rhizophores) that grow from the main stem and resemble flying buttresses. Méndez-Alonzo et al. study the allometry and wood mechanical properties of trees of R. mangle (red mangrove) and find that the rhizophores change their morphology and anatomy as they grow away from the main trunk and into the substrate, which is commonly flooded and unstable. Rhizophora mangle supports a thinner stem of higher mechanical resistance when compared to Avicennia germinans, a co-existing mangrove lacking rhizophores. The buttressing provided by the rhizophores thus allows R. mangle to reach the canopy with a much more slender main stem than its immediate competitor.