Native Plant Communities

Hydric Hammock

Hydric hammocks are found in central and northern Florida.  They occur on low, flat, wet sites maintained by rainfall accompanied by poor drainage.  Flooding, if it occurs is short, but many of these hammocks are moist for extended time periods.  In some areas, limestone may be near the surface.  Flooding from rivers, seepage, and spring discharge may also contribute to hydric conditions . Soils are variable, usually somewhat acidic to slightly alkaline with little organic matter, and in all cases, alkaline materials are available in the substrate. These substrates are conducive for the growth of calcium-loving species such as red cedar and rattan vine.). Fire may be rare or occasional depending on several factors including how often the surrounding community burns and hammock size  (FNAI 2010).

Characteristic species include water oak, cabbage palm, red cedar, red maple, bays, hackberry, hornbeam, blackgum, needle palm, and other hardwoods.  

Rare plants  include auricled spleenwort (Asplenium erosum), Chapman’s sedge (Carex chapmanii), hay scented fern (Dennstaedtia bipinnata), Florida hasteola (Hasteola robertiorum), star anise (Illicium parviflorum), hand fern (Ophioglossum palmatum), plume polypody (Pecluma plumula), terrestrial peperomia (Peperomia humilis), pinewoods dainties (Phyllanthus liebmannianus ssp. platylepis), and pinkroot (Spigelia loganioides). 

Good examples can be found in the Bulow Woods State Park, Waccasassa Bay Preserve State Park, Chassahowitska Wildlife Management Area, Lower Hillsborough River Flood Detention Area, St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, Triple N Ranch Wildlife Management Area,  Richloam unit of the Withlacoochee State Forest, and Highlands Hammock State Park.


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

Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI). 2010. Guide to the natural communities of Florida: 2010 edition. Florida Natural Areas Inventory, Tallahassee, FL.

Knight, G. R., J. B. Oetting, and L. Cross.  2011.  Atlas of Florida's Natural Heritage - Biodiversity, Landscapes, Stewardship and Opportunities:  Institute of Science and Public Affairs, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL.

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

USDA Soil Conservation Service. 1986. 26 Ecological Communities of Florida.

Vince, S.W., S.R. Humphrey, and R.W. Simons. 1989. The ecology of hydric hammocks: a community profile. 85(7.26). Biological Report. United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, DC.

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

Date Updated 0000-00-00 00:00:00


Hydric Hammock - Bulow Woods State Park (photo by Shirley Denton).


Hydric Hammock - Bulow Woods State Park (photo by Shirley Denton).