Rhizophora mangle, known as the red mangrove, is distributed in estuarine ecosystems throughout the tropics. Its viviparous "seeds," in actuality called propagules, become fully mature plants before dropping off the parent tree. These are dispersed by water until eventually embedding in the shallows.
Rhizophora mangle grows on aerial prop roots, which arch above the water level, giving stands of this tree the characteristic "mangrove" appearance. It is a valuable plant in Florida, Louisiana, and Texas coastal ecosystems. In its native habitat it is threatened by invasive species such as the Brazilian pepper tree (Schinus terebinthifolius). The red mangrove itself is considered an invasive species in some locations, such as Hawaii, where it forms dense, monospecific thickets. R. mangle thickets, however, provide nesting and hunting habitat for a diverse array of organisms, including fish, birds, and crocodiles.