Native Plant Communities

Floodplain Forest

Synonyms: Bottomland Forest

Floodplain Forests are seasonally inundated, closed-canopied forests  They vary in substrate and hydrology based on local topography and substrate.  Many, but not all,  are on alluvial soils (sand, silt, clay).   These are short-hydroperiod forests which typically flood when the stream is out of its banks.  They may or may not be jurisdictional wetlands.  Fire is rare.

Typical canopy species vary climate and hydrology.  These include sweetgum, loblolly pine, sweetbay magnolia, swamp laurel oak, water oak, live oak, swamp chestnut oak,  sugarberry, American elm  and red maple.  Smaller trees and shrubs often include American hornbeam , swamp dogwood , possumhaw,  dwarf palmetto,  wax myrtle , and highbush blueberry. Ground cover is also variable in composition and often includes  panic and witchgrasses, slender woodoats , and beakrushes and sedges.  (simplified and modified from from FNAI, 2010).

Good examples can be found near many river systems in the peninsula and panhandle.

References:

Clewell, A.F. 1986. Natural setting and vegetation of the Florida Panhandle - An account of the environments and plant communities of northern Florida west of the Suwannee River. Report No. COESAM/PDEI-86/001. United States Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, Alabama.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection. 1992. Soil and Water Relationships of Florida's Ecological Communities http://www.dep.state.fl.us/water/wetlands/delineation/docs/soil-and-water.pdf

Duever, Linda. 1984 (September). Florida's Natural Communities: Floodplains. The Palmetto 4, #3:8-10. http://fnps.org/assets/pdf/palmetto/duever_linda_conway_natural_communities_of_floridas_floodplains_vol_4_no_3_fall_1984.pdf

Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI). 2010. Guide to the natural communities of Florida: 2010 edition. Florida Natural Areas Inventory, Tallahassee, FL. http://fnai.org/naturalcommguide.cfm

Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI) and Florida Department of Natural Resources. 1990. Guide to the natural communities of Florida: 2010 edition. Florida Natural Areas Inventory, Tallahassee, FL. http://fnai.org/PDF/Natural_Communities_Guide_1990.pdf

Myers, R.L. and J.J. Ewel (eds.). 1990. Ecosystems of Florida University of Central Florida Press: Orlando.

Light, H.M., and M.R. Darst. 1993. Hydrology, vegetation, and soils of four north Florida river flood plains with an evaluation of state and federal wetland determinations. Water Resources Investigation Report 93-4033. United States Geological Survey, Tallahassee, Florida.

Sharitz, R.R., and W.J. Mitsch. 1993. Southern floodplain forests. Pages 311-372 in W.H. Martin, S.G. Boyce, and A.C. Echternacht, editors. Biodiversity of the Southeastern United States: Lowland Terrestrial Communities. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York.

USDA Soil Conservation Service. 198_. 26 Ecological Communities of Florida. http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00000110/00001

Whitney, E.N., D. B. Means, A. Rudloe. 2004. Priceless Florida: Natural Ecosystems and Native Species. Pineapple Press.

Date Updated 2020-05-17 11:52:01

resources/native-plant-communities/floodplain_forest.JPG

Floodplain forest near the Withlacoochee River in west-central Florida.  Photo by Shirley Denton.

resources/native-plant-communities/floodplain_forest_richloam.JPG

Floodplain forest near the Withlacoochee River in west-central Florida.  Photo by Shirley Denton.

resources/native-plant-communities/floodplain_morris_bridge46.JPG

Floodplain Forest at Morris Bridge Park on the Hillsborough River near Tampa.  Photo by Shirley Denton.