Cypress Swamps

Cypress trees shoot up from the wetland. Photo by South Florida Water Management District


Cypress swamp vegetation: The dominant canopy vegetation in cypress wetlands includes bald cypress and water tupelo trees. Pond cypress and black gum trees are also common on the uplands of the Southeastern coastal plain. Pine trees and hardwoods can be present if cypress areas are drained or face drought conditions. The epiphyte Spanish moss is found on the stems and branches of canopy trees. Dominant understory vegetation included fetterbush, wax myrtle, and buttonbush shrubs. Herbs and ferns including duckweed, pipewort, and lizard tail are present in the understory as well.

Well-known cypress swamps: Florida's Big Cypress Swamp, located south of the Florida Everglades, is one of the largest cypress swamps in the U.S. The area spans 5,000 square kilometers of cypress domes, dwarf cypress and cypress strands (including Corkscrew Swamp). Logging removed many of the large trees in some areas, but today much of the swamp is protected as part of the Big Cypress National Preserve.

Another prominent wetland cypress swamp area sits on the Florida-Georgia border at Okefenokee Swamp. The cypress swamps here persisted despite logging, natural fires and drainage attempts.

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