freshwater marsh

Freshwater Marsh

This is the dominant community at Tosohatchee and includes the seasonally inundated lands adjacent to the St. Johns River and Tootoosahatchee Creek, James (Jim) Creek, and Taylor Creek swamps. Extensive stands of sand cordgrass are broken by slightly deeper depressions and sloughs where pickerelweed, duck potato, sawgrass, and other aquatic species grow. Shrubs, including wax myrtle, button bush, and swamp hibiscus also occur in the marsh, especially along the western edge near the tree line. In deeper areas of the marsh near the St. Johns River, the cordgrass is replaced by maidencane and Paspalum species.

 

hardwood swamp

Hardwood Swamp

Bald cypress, pond cypress, black gum, Carolina ash, water locust, and other hardwoods dominate the dense tree canopy in low areas along creeks. An old growth stand of bald cypress occurs near James Creek. Within the swamps, the understory and ground cover include a diverse assemblage of shrubs, ferns, and other aquatic plants.

 

hammocks

Hammocks

This community occurs along the edge of the marshes and swamps, and in slight depressions in wet flatwoods. The canopy typically includes cabbage palm, red cedar, and live oak in varying combinations and densities. There is little to no understory in most hammocks.

 

pine flatwoods

Pine Flatwoods

Stands of slash pine with a dense understory of cabbage palm characterize the wet flatwoods at Tosohatchee. Groundcover is sparse in areas with heavy shade and pine needle drop, while sand cordgrass, sugarcane plumegrass, blue maidencane, and several Panicum species grow in areas with more open canopies.

Flatwoods in slightly higher, drier parts of Tosohatchee, along its western edge, contain dense stands of slash pine and pond pine with a mixed understory of saw palmetto, wax myrtle, and other shrubs. Ground cover is a diverse mix of wiregrasses, toothache grass, bluestems and other herbs. Many protected species including cutthroat grass, Catesby's lily, rain lilies, and several species of orchids occur within this natural community. Longleaf pine grows in a couple of isolated areas.

 

cypress swamp

Cypress Swamp

Isolated cypress domes occur in several locations throughout the flatwoods. The tree canopy is composed of pond cypress and sweetgum, red maple, and water locust. The understory is generally open and includes wax myrtle, dahoon holly, and other shrubs. The ground cover is composed of ferns, maidencane, and sphagnum moss mats. Epiphytic orchids including Tampa butterfly orchid and green-fly orchid are common here.

 

Rivers and Streams

rivers and streams

The St. Johns River and its numerous channels and sloughs form the eastern boundary of the WMA. The river is bordered by extensive freshwater marshes that extend several miles east and west of the river channel. Tootoosahatchee Creek, James (Jim) Creek, and Taylor Creek, originate in pine flatwoods and pasture lands west of the WMA and flow eastward through the WMA to the St. Johns River. The creeks are bordered by extensive forested wetland communities that transition into freshwater marsh near the river.



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