The submerged tree volume and the projection area of mangroves play a significant role in damping tsunami inundation flow with a distinct root formation above ground. We modeled the stilt root morphology of the Rhizophora sp., especially to incorporate into a hydraulic drag of tsunami inundation simulation. The equivalent Manning’s roughness coefficient has been used as the hydraulic drag of mangroves for the computation of inundation flow [Yanagisawa et al. (Coast Shelf Sci 81: 27–37, 2009)], but it could not elucidate the effectiveness under different tree conditions. The field data from 18 sample trees in Ranong Province, Thailand, were measured. The total number of primary roots, the root height at trunk, and the root-spread distance, the root diameter, and the vertical root angle from trunk could be estimated with the diameter of the breast height. The quadratic equation expressed the root curve of the primary stilt root, and functions to estimate root volume and projected area were derived by the integration of the equation that will be used to calculate drag force in tsunami simulation.