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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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