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Wetland Evaluation and Delineation Program

Wetland Communities  - Bayheads
 

Bayheads are forested wetlands (swamps) that include a variety of dominant tree species. Generally these are depression wetlands with a canopy and mucky, organic soils. Often this plant community is associated with a seepage bog and may represent a fire suppressed version of a typically open seepage bog in some areas. Bayheads are related to dome swamps. Typically bayheads are dominated by evergreen tree and shrub species. In north Florida deciduous taxa such as pond cypress and swamp gum are often co-dominants and share the canopy with sweetbay (magnolia), loblolly bay, white cedar and slash pine. The understory is typically dominated by holly species and fetter-bush. Bayheads in central and south Florida tend to have more sweetbay and loblolly bay with subtropical species such as myrsine and tropical fern species in the groundcover. With the widespread fire suppression in Florida, bayheads are often difficult to delineate using the unified wetland delineation methodology (in rule 62-340, F.A.C.) as the ecotone between the bayhead and pine dominated flatwoods is often obscured.

Bayhead

Bayhead -----------------ecotone----------------------------------Pine flatwoods-------

This scene above is of the ecotone between the bayhead on the left and pine flatwood forest on the right. Note the fire-scarred trunks of the slash pine and palmetto in the understory of the pine flatwoods.

Canopy

Botanical Name Common Name DEP Status
Acer rubrum red maple FACW
Chamaecyparis thyoides Atlantic white cedar OBL
Gordonia lasianthus loblolly bay FACW
Magnolia virginiana var. australis sweetbay magnolia OBL
Nyssa sylvatica var. biflora swamp tupelo OBL
Persea palustris swamp bay OBL
Pinus ellottii slash pine UPLAND
Quercus laurifolia laurel oak FACW
Quercus nigra water oak FACW
Taxodium ascendens pond cypress OBL

 

Subcanopy and Groundcover

Botanical name Common name DEP status
Ilex cassine dahoon holly OBL
Ilex coriacea bay-gall holly FACW
Itea virginica Virginia willow OBL
Lyonia lucida fetter-bush FACW
Myrica cerifera southern bayberry FAC
Myrsine guianensis Guiana myrsine FAC
Viburnum nudum possum-haw viburnum FACW

 

Groundcover

Botanical name Common name DEP status
Blechnum serrulatum swamp fern FACW
Osmunda cinnamomea cinnamon fern FACW
Osmunda regalis royal fern OBL
Woodwardia areolata chainfern OBL
Woodwardia virginica chainfern FACW

 

 

Last updated: September 21, 2011

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