Swamp Hardwoods

Swamp hardwood communities, or gum ponds, occur throughout Florida with the exception of the southeast portion of the state. Most of these communities are located in North Florida. Like cypress swamps and bay swamps, swamp hardwoods occupy depressions, except swamp hardwoods have longer hydroperiods and less extreme water level fluctuations than cypress swamps.

Vegetation

Swamp hardwoods are characterized by a high percentage of deciduous hardwoods. Many swamp hardwood communities may have originally been dominated by cypress, but when the large cypress was cut, hardwoods became dominant. Tree species commonly found in swamp hardwoods include:

Trees:

  • black gum(Nyssa sylvatica var. biflora)
  • water tupelo(Nyssa aquatica)
  • red maple (Acer rubrum)

Shrubs:

  • buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
  • dahoon holly (Ilex cassine)

For more information on these and other trees and shrubs, visit our Trees of Florida page.

Herbaceous Plants and Vines:

  • cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea)
  • lizard's tail (Saururus cernuus)
  • royal fern (Osmunda regalis)
  • wild pine (Tillandsia fasiculata)

Threatened or Endangered Wildlife

Herbaceous Plants and Vines:

  • dwarf spleenwort (Asplenium pumilum)
  • hanging club moss (Lycopodium dichotomum)
  • Harper's beauty (Harperocallis flava)

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Fauna

Animals living in swamp hardwoods are adapted to wet conditions and withstand periodic flooding. Dense vegetation provides good cover and food resources. Common wildlife include:

Mammals:

  • Florida black bear (Ursus americanus floridanus)
  • bobcat (Lynx rufus)
  • white-tailed deer (Odecoileus virginianus)
  • mink (Mustela vison)
  • otter (Lutra canadensis)
  • raccoon (Procyon lotor)

Birds:

  • barred owl (Strix varia)
  • horned owl (Bubo virginianus)
  • pileated woodpecker (Drycopus pileatus)
  • turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)
  • wood duck (Aix sponsa)
  • hawksalligator, photo by Julie Anne Ferguson Demers
  • songbirds

Reptiles:

  • alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)
  • turtles
  • snakesĀ 

Threatened or Endangered Wildlife

Mammals:

  • Florida black bear (Ursus americanus floridanus)
  • Florida panther (Felis concolor coryi)

Birds:

  • Bachman's warbler (Vermivora bachmanii)
  • ivory-billed woodpecker (Campephilus principalis)
  • bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

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