Scrubby High Pine

Scrubby high pine, called southern ridge sandhills by Abrahamson et al. (1984), yellow sand scrub by Christman (1988a), natural turkey oak barrens by Christman and Judd (1990), hickory scrub by Main and Menges (1997), Caribbean pine-turkey oak by Laessle (1967), slash pine-turkey oak by Douglas and Layne (1978), and blackjack lands or blackjack ridges by 19th century land surveyors cited in Myers (1990) is a rare, naturally occurring plant community that is floristically and functionally intermediate between scrub and high pine. Scrubby high pine contains longleaf pine or south Florida slash pine (Pinus elliottii var. densa), turkey oak and scattered wiregrass, and has yellow sand, conditions typical of high pine. However scrubby high pine also contains typical scrub species, such as sand pine, evergreen scrub oaks, garberia (Garberia fruticosa), and rosemary, and it supports several species that are nearly restricted to it or reach their greatest abundances in it such as scrub hickory (Carya floridana), scrub beargrass (Nolina brittoniana), pigeonwing (Clitoria fragrans), Lewton's polygala (Polygala lewtonii), and the scrub balms (Dicerandra spp.) (Christman 1988a, 1988b; Christman and Judd 1990). Scrubby high pine easily is confused with man-made turkey oak barrens but references from the 18th and 19th centuries (cited in Myers 1990) attest to the natural occurrence of scrubby high pine long before the original longleaf pine savannas were logged. Scrubby high pine appears to be associated with topographically diverse landscapes where longterm fire-return intervals have been exceedingly variable (Myers and Boettcher 1987, Christman 1988b, Myers 1990).

Narrow bands of scrubby high pine often occur as ecotones on steep slopes between high pine and wetland communities. (Note that on more gentle slopes high pine usually grades almost imperceptibly into pine flatwoods.) Scrubby high pine also occurs on ridges or peaks within high pine communities perhaps because the soils there are too well-drained to support a continuous ground cover of the wiregrass needed to carry frequent fires. The community also occurs on rolling hills interspersed with ponds and marshes, especially on the Lake Wales Ridge (Christman 1988a). Scrubby high pine apparently was always uncommon in central and northern Florida, but formerly was common on the southern Lake Wales Ridge where, prior to its almost complete conversion to citrus orchards, it occupied sites with extremely well-drained sands and extremely varied topography (Christman and Judd 1990, Myers 1990).

Taken from: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1999. South Florida multi-species recovery plan. Atlanta, Georgia. Pp. 3:34-35.

Listed Species Occurring in Scrubby High Pine Habitat

  • Florida Panther
  • Florida Scrub-jay
  • Kirtland's Warbler
  • Eastern Indigo Snake
  • Blue-tailed Mole Skink
  • Sand Skink
  • Four Petal Paw-paw
  • Flroida Bonamia
  • Fragrant Prickly Apple
  • Pygmy Fringe Tree
  • Florida Golden Aster
  • Florida Perforate Cladonia
  • Pigeon Wings
  • Short-leaved Rosemary
  • Avon Park Harebells
  • Garrett's Mint
  • Lakela's Mint
  • Scrub Mint
  • Scurb Buckwheat
  • Snakeroot
  • Highlands Crub Hypericum
  • Scrub Blazing Star
  • Scrub Lupine
  • Britton's Beargrass
  • Papery Whitlow-wort
  • Lewton's Polygala
  • Tiny Polygala
  • Wireweed
  • Sandlace
  • Scrub Plum
  • Carter's Mustard
  • Florida Ziziphus