Native Plant Communities

Maritime Hammock

Community Variants: Shell Mound

Maritime hammocks occur on raised areas near the coast. With climates strongly moderated by proximity to water, they typically support vegetation that seems more tropical than similar hammocks further inland. Soils are typically sandy.  Fire is rare or non-existant. Typical vegetation is a mixed hardwood or live oak forest.

Shell Mounds are anthropogenic in origin and consist of mounds of shells that were built by indigenous people. Found along the coasts, these systems have plant communities that not only incude species from the subtropics. Species high affinities for calcium-rich soils are often associated with shell mounds.  Shell Mounds have plant lists that include plants from Central America and the Caribbean.  

Two rare Florida plants, Celtis pallida and C. laevigata (both listed by Florida as Endangered) are found on shell mounds and, at least in the case of C. pallida, may have been brought to Florida from the US Southwest pre-European contact.




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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.

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

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Maritime Hammock at Caladesi Island State Park.