Native Plant Communities

Salt Marsh

Salt marshes are found in coastal areas, primarily along low-energy shorelines and within bays and estuaries. Saltmarsh is subject to inundation with sea water on a daily basis.

Salt marsh vegetation occurs within the marsh between the low and high tidal zones.  Florida’s salt marshes are typically dominated by black needle rush (Juncus romarianus),  smooth (Spartina alterniflora) and saltmeadow (S. patens) cordgrass, and occasionally in brackish areas, sawgrass (Cladium jamaisense). The distribution of species the salt marsh is controlled by the level and duration of tidal flooding, with smooth cordgrass found in the lowest, wettest parts of the marsh; salt meadow cordgrass in areas that receive intermediate levels of flooding, and black needle rush in the highest parts of the marsh. Sawgrass is found in areas transitional from freshwater marshes.(description paraphrased from


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

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.  undated.  Salt Marsh.

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.

Date Updated 2020-05-17 11:47:34


Saltmarsh at Gamble-Rogers State Park.  Image by Shirley Denton.


Saltmarsh near St. Marks.  Photo by Shirley Denton.


Saltmarsh encroaching landward due to sea level rise.  Near Ozello.  Photo by Shirley Denton.