Pond cypress dominates this community and includes some trees that are over a century old. Some swamp tupelo occurs with the cypress. In areas where the overstory canopy is more open, a dense shrub layer of buttonbush, titi and wax myrtle grows.
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. It is basically a basin swamp with a canopy cover of less than 20 percent. The soil is usually saturated or covered with water for two hundred days or more during the year. Typical plants include maidencane, sedges, spikerush, smartweed, titi, primrose willow, American white water lily, buttonbush, pickerelweed, wax myrtle and Virginia willow.
Upland Pine Forest
Upland pine forests are characterized by widely spaced pines with a dense understory of grasses and herbs. They require frequent fire to persist. Historically, small areas of upland pine forest occurred in the extreme eastern portion of the WEA, and along Highway 27 in the central portion of the area. Today, the upland pine forests on the L. Kirk Edwards WEA are low-lying areas, similar to mesic flatwoods but lacking many of the characteristic species, most notably, any significant amount of saw palmetto. Due to lack of fire, this pine community is now mostly dominated by planted slash pine, with an understory of shrubs such as wax myrtle, piedmont staggerbush and hardwoods such as water oaks and sweetgums.
Bottomland forest is a low-lying, closed-canopy forest of tall, straight trees such as red maple, sweetgum, swamp tupelo, slash pine, loblolly pine, swamp laurel oak, water oak and live oak. Red maple, sweetgum, blackgum, swamp tupelo, swamp laurel oak, water oak and pond cypress often occur as a subcanopy, over a dense shrub layer of titi, common buttonbush, sweet pepperbush, common persimmon, gallberry, Virginia willow, fetterbush, sweetgum, wax myrtle, plus seedlings and young saplings of canopy species. Ferns, vines and other groundcover species also occur. In a few locations, fire has converted bottomland forest into basin marsh by removing much of the woody component. This conversion may become more common as historic fire frequencies are returned to the surrounding upland communities.