Native Plant Communities

Salt Flats

Synonyms: Saltern

Salt Flats occur in areas where inundation is irregular, not daily, and the hydrologic connection between the Salt Flat at the ocean both prevents daily inundation and tends to form evaporation ponds when water is trapped in the Salt Flat.  Inundation is due to storm serges or extremely high tides that then evaporate leaving a hyper-saline substrate. 

Salt Flats are dominated by species that can tolerate high salinities such as saltwort (Batis maritima), perennial glasswort (Sarcocornia ambigua), annual glasswort (Salicornia bigelovii), and bushy seaside oxeye (Borrichia frutescens),  saltgrass (Distichlis spicata), seashore paspalum (Paspalum vaginatum), and shoregrass (Monanthochloe littoralis). (plantlist from FNAI 2010).  Areas where the soils are too saline for any of these species are a common feature.

There is also a variant occupied by dwarfed mangroves. 

Good examples of Salt Flats can be found along Tampa Bay including one with good access from the Upper Tampa Bay Regional Park in Hillsborough County.


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


Date Updated 2020-05-18 12:21:48


Salt flat in southern Hillsborough County.  By Shirley Denton.


Salt flat in southern Hillsborough County.  By Shirley Denton.

resources/native-plant-communities/salt flat - St Marks_2088.JPG

Salt Flat near St. Marks by Shirley Denton.