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 palmetto.

Ann F. Johnson

Hardwood Swamp

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.


Wet hammock
Ann F. Johnson

Wetland Hardwood Hammock

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.



Hardwood swamp
Betsy Purdum
- 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

Cypress Swamp

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.


Randy Kautz

Freshwater Marsh

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.

FWC Facts:
The Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail is a network of more than 500 Florida sites selected for their excellent bird-watching or education opportunities.

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