One of the landmark Fofoti trees in Aruba is the one located on the Eagle Beach. It is a scenic location for where most tourists snap a photo at sunset. The particular shape of this Fofoti mangle is primarily due to the constant trade winds, and provides a stunning landscape on the ocean’s front. The Fofoti mangle is found on most locations around the island, however they are seen mostly in the Malmok area, Eagle Beach, Linear Park and Baby Beach. They are also found near most creeks like Rooi Prikichi, Rooi Canashito and at the Rooi at Sero Cristal. The Fofoti as well as all other mangroves are protected by law.
The Fofoti is a mangle that is green year-round and is always growing and unlike other mangles species, they grow inland on firm land, yet near salt water. Its English name is “Buttonwood” named after the shape of its fruit, a brown and round button-like shape. The trunk of the Fofoti was used in boat constructions as it is a very hard wood. The trunk was also used for its medicinal properties, like tea made of the trunk for eye sores and skin irritations. However, it is Important to notice that just like many homeopathic remedies, the use of the Mangle’s medicinal use has not been scientifically verified.
Another type of the Conocarpus erectus is the Silver Buttonwood, introduced to Aruba from Florida and primarily used as landscape plant. Some of these have also been spotted near the Rooi Prikichi area. Standing near its local variety, it creates a very pleasant contrast.
The existence of the Fofoti is threatened by the loss of its habitat in the Caribbean specially due to coastal development. It is estimated that 17% of its habitat has been reduced in the Caribbean since 1980. One of the Sustainable Development Goals-SDG’s, in particular SDG15 is to protect nature worldwide.
Happy Mangroves Day.