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Gulf of Mexico Tidal Wetlands

A Photo Gallery of Florida's Big Bend Tidal Wetlands

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Ellen Raabe

Marsh Environments: Marsh Grasses

  Juncus along Tidal Creek
Juncus romerianus

The coastal marsh is a mosaic of different habitats related to tidal flow, topography and freshwater input.

The most common marsh plant in this region is black needlerush, Juncus romerianus (at right). Black needlerush grows on mud deposits, and is usually flooded only during high tide.

Frequent tidal flooding along the Gulf edge favors the growth of smooth cordgrass, Spartina alterniflora (below left). Smooth cordgrass is well-adapted to a frequently flooded, saline environment.

Sawgrass, Cladium jamaicense (below right), occupies an intermediate marsh zone, preferring lower salinities than smooth cordgrass and more flooding than black needlerush. A sawgrass meadow is a good indication of regular freshwater flow.

Spartina alterniflora
Cordgrass along Gulf Edge
  Cladium jamaicense
Sawgrass with Sabal Palms

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Updated January 04, 2013 @ 10:28 AM (THF)