Native Plant Communities

Wet Flatwoods

Synonyms: Hydric Flatwoods

Wet flatwoods are found on extensive, poorly drained, flat areas. They may be inundated during periods of high rainfall. They may be subtropical or be in areas of peninsular climate; fire is frequent; vegetation is characterized by an overstory of slash pine or pond pine and/or cabbage palm with mixed grasses and herbs.

This habitat seasonally functions as both a wetland and an upland. The relatively predictable nature of this hydrologic transformation allows for an abundant diversity of plant life, including both wetland and upland annuals. The alteration between upland and wetland conditions allows for both upland and wetland plant species to utilize the same habitat through temporal displacement. The latitudinal range of hydric pine flatwoods provides a wide range of microclimates that result in tropical floral components in the south, and temperate-dominated understory in the north and frost-prone interior sites, increasing the overall plant diversity in the understory.

As a result the wet pine flatwoods have the highest plant species diversity of any habitat in southern Florida. Upwards of 900 plant species are known including over 80 that are either endemic to Florida or rare. (USFWS 1999).

Good examples can be found in the Big Cypress National Preserve, BabcockWebb WMA, Charlotte Harbor State Buffer Preserve State Park, Big Cypress National Preserve (Collier County), Collier-Seminole State Park, CREW (Corkscrew), Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park, the Florida Panther NWR, Jonathan Dickinson SP, and Green Swamp SWFWMD ownerships.


Duever, M. J., J E Carlson, J. F. Meeder, L. C. Duever, L. H. Guderson, L. A. Riopelle, T. R. Alexander, R. L. Myers, and D. P. Spangler.  1986.  The Big Cypress National Preserve.  Research Report 8, National Audubon Society.

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.

Gann, G.D., K.A. Bradley, and S.W. Woodmansee. 2009. Floristic Inventory of South Florida Database. Institute for Regional Conservation.

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

Outcalt, K.W. 1997. An old-growth definition for tropical and subtropical forests in Florida. General Technical Report SRS-013. United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Asheville, North Carolina.

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

USFWS.  1999.  Multi-Species Recovery Plan for South Florida.

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 flatwoods at BabcockWeb.  Photo by Shirley Denton.


Hydric (wet) flatwoods at Florida Forever (Osceola County).