Hydric Pine Flatwoods

The latitudinal range of hydric pine flatwoods, from Charlotte Harbor to Florida Bay and inland to the Penholoway Terrace, provides a wide range of microclimates that result in tropical floral components in the south, and temperate-dominated understory in the north and frost-prone interior sites, increasing the overall plant diversity in the understory. Long (1974) lists 361 species of plants in the wet pine forest habitat of South Florida. This is the highest plant species diversity of any habitat in South Florida. Beever and Dryden (1998) document or identify in the literature 993 plant species (334 monocotyledon, 602 dicotyledon, 4 gymnosperm, and 53 pteridophyte species) in the hydric pine flatwoods of southwest Florida. Of these 993 species, 677 species (69 percent) are typically considered to occur in wetlands, 244 (25 percent) in submerged zones, and 433 (44 percent) in saturated zones. Three hundred and sixteen species (32 percent) are typically considered upland plants. Ninety-three (10 percent) are exotic or introduced species.

The hydric pine flatwoods habitat is dominated by a slash pine (Pinus elliottii var. densa) overstory with a wetland plant understory. The wetland understory can be any, or a variety, of wetland plant community types ranging from wet prairie to hatrack cypress. Hydric pine flatwoods are distinct from mesic and xeric pine flatwoods in the absence of understory dominance by saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) and more xeric species such as pennyroyal (Piloblephis rigida), pawpaw (Asimina spp.), and prickly pear (Opuntia spp.). Mid-story plants of hydric pine flatwoods include cypress (Taxodium spp.), cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto), wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera), dahoon holly (Ilex cassine), and red bay (Persea palustris), as well as species characteristic of mixed hardwood swamp forest and cypress forest of South Florida: red maple (Acer rubrum) and buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis). Exotic plant invaders primarily include Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius) and melaleuca (Melaleuca quinquinervia). Understory includes ferns (Nephrolepsis, Osmunda, Thelypteris spp., etc .); arrowhead (Sagittaria spp.); a wide variety of grasses (Agrostis, Andropogon, Aristida, Dichanthelium, Eragrostis, Muhlenbergia, Panicum, Paspalum, Schizachyrium, and Sporobolus spp., etc .); an amazing diversity of sedges (Bulbostylis, Carex, Cladium jamaicense, Cyperus, Dichromena, Eleocharis, Fimbrystylis, Rhynchospora, Scirpus, Scleria spp., etc.); yellow-eyed grasses (Xyris spp.); pipeworts (Eriocaulon spp., Lachnocaulon spp., and Syngonathus flavidulus); day-flowers (Commelina spp.); rushes (Juncus spp.); lilies, iris, and amaryllis (Aletris, Crinum, and Hymenocalis spp., Iris hexagona, Lillium catesbaei, etc.); cannas (Canna spp.); ground orchids (Calopogon spp., Eulophia alta , Spiranthes spp.); smartweeds (Polygonella and Polygonum spp. etc); sundews (Drosera spp.); legumes (Cassia, Crotalaria, Galactia, Indigofera, Rhynchosia , Tephrosia spp., etc .); sorrels (Oxalis spp.); flaxes (Linum spp.); milkworts (Polygala spp.); spurges (Chaemaescye, Euphobia, Poinsettia, Stillingia spp.); mallows (Hibiscus, Kosteletzkya, Sida spp., etc.),;chocolate weeds (Melochia spp.); St. John's worts (Hypericum spp.); meadow beauties (Rhexia spp); evening primroses (Ludwigia spp); celeries (Eryngium, Hydrocotyle, and Oxpolis spp., etc.); starflowers (Sabatia spp.); milkweeds (Asclepias spp.); bladderworts (Pinguicula and Urtricularia spp.); and a wide variety of composites (Aster, Carphephorus, Cirsium, Coreopsis, Emilia, Eupatorium, Flaveria, Heterotheca, Liatris, and Solidago spp., etc.). Epiphytes are also common, including airplants (Tillandsia spp.); ferns (Ophioglossum, Phlebodium aureum, Polypodium, and Vittaria spp.); and orchids (Encyclia tampensis, Epidendrum rigidum, etc.).

Taken from: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1999. South Florida Multi-Species Recovery Plan. Atlanta, Georgia. Pp.3:233,235.

Listed Species Occurring in Hydric Pine Flatwoods Habitat

  • Florida Panther
  • Key Deer
  • Audubon's Crested Caracara
  • Bald Eagle
  • Everglades Snail Kite
  • Red-cockaded Woodpecker
  • Wood Stork
  • Kirtland's Warbler
  • Eastern Indigo Snake
  • Beautiful Paw-paw