North Florida Flatwoods
North Florida flatwoods are found on flat expanses
of land with deep, acidic, poorly to very poorly drained soils. In
some places, timber companies drained hardwood swamps and hammocks
and planted them with pines. During heavy rains, North Florida
flatwoods are often wet. The community is now dominated by planted
slash pine, some 30 years old, with an understory of saw
Ann F. Johnson
Hardwood swamps are found on level or nearly level
areas with very poorly drained soils bordering the rivers.
Historically these areas were dominated by mature bald cypress;
however, heavy logging during the first half of the 20th century
removed most of the mature cypress. Today the overstory consists of
blackgum, red bay, loblolly bay, sweet bay, cabbage palm, red
maple, and water tupelo.
Ann F. Johnson
Wetland hardwood hammock occurs on poorly drained
soils subject to constant seepage or high water tables. These areas
flood, but do not remain flooded as long as hardwood swamps. This
community has luxurious vegetation and supports a greater diversity
of plants and animals than found in either wetter or drier sites.
The overstory consists of live oak, laurel oak, water oak, cabbage
palm, southern magnolia, sweetbay, red maple, sweet gum, and red
bay. The understory includes hawthorn, wax myrtle, witchhazel, saw
palmetto, and yaupon.
- Zephyr lilies bloom on hammock
along the Wacissa River in early March
On Aucilla WMA, hardwood hammocks are found in
uplands near streams and rivers. Dominant trees include laurel oak,
water oak, live oak, pignut hickory, and southern magnolia. The
understory contains American holly, rusty lyonia, saw palmetto,
sparkleberry, wax myrtle, and American beautyberry.
Cypress swamp occurs on nearly level ground or in
depressions with water at or above ground level for a good portion
of the year. These swamps are dominated by either bald cypress or
pond cypress and generally occurs as cypress heads or domes.
Freshwater marsh occurs on nearly level land with
poorly drained soils. The marsh contains open expanses of grasses,
sedges, and rushes and other herbaceous plants. The soil is usually
saturated or covered with water for two or more months during the
year. Typical plants include beak rush, maidencane, bulrushes,
sedges, spikerush, arrowhead, pickeralweed, St. Johns wort,
cattails, blue flag, and fire flag.