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Wetland Evaluation and Delineation Program

Plant Communities in Southeast Florida
 

Wetlands

Cypress domes/swamps and strands/stringers, 30 years ago there were extensive areas of cypress swamp just east of Davie, probably none left in Broward County; while in Palm Beach County the cypress swamps are rapidly being developed and/or drained. Interesting variant found in the Everglades and Jonathan Dickinson State Park with dwarf cypress "stringers" in the greater landscape of freshwater marsh/pine flatwoods. Public access for seeing cypress domes/swamps can be found in the Everglades National Park and Jonathan Dickinson State Park.

Hydric pine flatwoods throughout, public access to these are found in Jonathan Dickinson State Park.

Wet Prairie associated with pine flatwoods, public access is found in Savanna State Park, Palm Beach County.

Freshwater marsh a catch all that includes most freshwater wetlands dominated by herbaceous plants, this includes wet "marl" prairies which are floristically related to the sawgrass marshes of the Everglades also includes Depression marsh Throughout, usually in pine flatwoods, e.g. in Jonathan Dickinson St. Park, usually a distinct circular marsh with zones of vegetation, floristically related to the freshwater marshes of rivers and to the sawgrass marshes of the Everglades. Public access to freshwater marshes can be found in many parks, for example, Everglades National Park and Jonathan Dickinson State Park.

Bayhead Formerly common in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie and Okeechobee Counties. Public access can be found in Everglades National Park and Jonathan Dickinson State Park

Floodplain forest/marsh along streams and rivers, parts of the Loxahatchee and St. Lucie River. Public access; Loxahatchee River Bend (County) Park and Jonathan Dickinson State Park.

Lakeshore marsh/swamp Many lakes (or stormwater ponds) in south Florida, except Lake Okeechobee and a few remnant lakes associated with Loxahatchee Slough, are artificial with limited wetland vegetation owing to the lack of a littoral shelf. The southern drainage of Lake Okeechobee historically contained vast Pond Apple (Annona glabra) swamps that drained into the Everglades, this has been converted to agriculture. Many public boat ramps/access areas contain marsh vegetation around Lake Okeechobee.

Brackish marsh extensive areas mixed with dwarf mangroves in the Everglades, this grades into freshwater marsh and there is no distinct boundary between the two. Public access to vast areas of brackish marsh is found in the Everglades National Park. See the our webpage for an illustrated guide to saltmarsh vegetation in south Florida.

Mangrove swamp Coastal counties where the climate is subtropical, extensive areas associated with Florida Bay of the Everglades national park, also mangrove islands associated with Florida Keys and mangroves along intercoastal waterway. Public access to mangrove forests is found throughout south Florida. Examples include the following: John D. MacArthur State Recreation Area (Palm Beach County); John U. Lloyd State Recreation Area (Broward County); Oleta River State Park and Matheson Hammock State Park (Dade County) and extensive areas of the Everglades National Park (Dave and Monroe Counties). See our webpage for illustrated guide to mangroves and associated plant species. We also have an illustrated guide (on our webpage) to the seagrasses and algae of south Florida.

Uplands

Sandhill locally common in Martin County. Public access can be found in Jonathan Dickinson State Park, within the park drive down to the picnic areas/canoe rental near the Loxahatchee River.

Coastal Scrub found primarily from Palm Beach County, north to St. Lucie County, Public access can be found in Jonathan Dickinson State Park.

Xeric Hammock associated with unburned coastal scrub. Public access can be found in Jonathan Dickinson State Park.

Coastal Hammock - found landward of the dunes in coastal counties, throughout the area from Monroe Co. in the Keys, north along the Atlantic coast. Floristically, this community contains many tropical species (in common with subtropical hammocks found inland typically on a limestone rise) that tend to become less dominant in the hammocks north of the Daytona Beach area. Examples on public lands include the following: John D. MacArthur State Recreation Area (Palm Beach County) and Bahia Honda State Recreation Area (Monroe County).

Beach dune - in coastal counties, throughout. Various public beaches have examples of relatively intact beach dunes. Many dunes have been altered and are no longer representative of the original plant composition. Many invasive exotics have and continue to be removed from south Florida coastal areas.

Pine flatwoods Throughout. Public access can be found in Jonathan Dickinson State Park.

Pine Rocklands Dade and Monroe Counties. Public access can be found in the Everglades National Park.

Subtropical hammocks Monroe County, Florida Keys and Dade County, "tree islands" in Everglades. Public access can be found in the Everglades National Park and Matheson Hammock State Park (Dade County). 

Last updated: September 21, 2011

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