Native Flora and Fauna 

Native Flora

  •  The subcanopy of the pinelands consists of fire-resistant species such as the saw palmetto and cabbage palm


Pinelands. Photo © Maynard Hiss

Florida slash pines (Pinus elliotii) occur in a range of elevations, taking root among limestone outcroppings and solution holes containing peat and marl. Surrounded by wet prairies and mangroves, pinelands experience flooding during the summer rainy season for extended periods of time.

saw palmetto

Saw palmetto. Photo © Maynard Hiss

Only occurring after the extended absence of fire, the subcanopy includes hardwood shrubs and small trees from adjacent hammock habitats. Saw palmetto (Serenoa palmetto), a low growing species of palm, commonly occurs within pinelands. Growing up to six feet (2 m) in height, the saw palmetto is easily recognized with its sharp, pointed leaves.

sabal palmetto

Cabbage palm. Photo © Maynard Hiss

Another common plant is the cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto) which thrives in the poor soil conditions of the pinelands. Both the cabbage palm and the saw palmetto are extremely fire-tolerant.

Shrubs occurring within the pinelands include:

pond apple plant

Pond apple (Annona glabra). Photocourtesy South Florida Water Management District

pineland, buttonbush

Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis). Photo courtesy South Florida Water Management District

pineland, willow

Willow (Salix caroliniana). Photo courtesy South Florida Water Management District


Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis). Photo courtesy South Florida Water Management District

  • pond cypress (Taxodium ascedens), not shown
  • buckthorn (Bumelia reclinata), not shown
  • dwarf live oak (Quercus minima), not shown

Native Fauna 

  • Rocky pinelands provide habitat for many species of wildlife

White-tailed deer

White-tailed deer. Photo © John White

Many mammals inhabit the unique rocky pineland habitats of south Florida including:

pineland, opossum

Opossum (Didelphis virginiana). Photo © Alden M. Johnson, California Academy of Sciences

hammocks, raccoon

Raccoon (Procyon lotor). Photo courtesy U.S. Geological Survey

Florida panther

Florida panther (Puma concolor coryi). Photo courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

hammocks, whitetail deer

White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus). Photo courtesy U.S. Geological Survey

pineland, black bear

Florida Black Bear (Ursus americanus floridanus). Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Tranportation

hammocks, marsh rabbit

Marsh Rabbit (Sylvilagus palustris). Photo courtesy National Park Service

hammocks, bobcat

Bobcat (Lynx rufus). Image courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

  • cotton mouse (Peromyscus gossypinus), not shown
  • mangrove fox squirrel (Sciurus niger avicennia), not shown

Birds that frequent these areas include:

hammocks, redbelly woodpecker

Red-bellied woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus). Photo courtesy South Florida Water Management District

pineland, pine warbler

Pine Warbler (Dendroica pinus). Photo courtesy J.A. Spendelow/U.S. Geological Survey

hammocks, cardinal

Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis). Photo © Dr. Lloyd Glenn Ingles, California Academy of Sciences

pineland, bluejay

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata). Photo courtesy Loren Oslie/U.S. Geological Survey


pineland, redshoulder hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus). Photo © Gerald and Buff Corsi, California Academy of Sciences

Reptiles and amphibians include:

pineland, pygmy rattlesnake

Pygmy Rattlesnake (Sisturus miliarius). Photo courtesy U.S. Geological Survey

hammocks, eastern indigo

Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon coaris couperi). Photo courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

hammocks, rim rock crowned snake

Rim rock crowned snake (Tantilla oolitica). Photo © Kenneth Krysko

pineland, skink

Five-lined skink (Eumeces fasciatus). Photo © John White

  • reef gecko (Sphaerodactylus notatus), not shown

Glossary terms on page:

  • marl: earthy, loose deposit consisting mainly of calcium carbonate mixed with clay.
  • solution hole: depression in the Earth’s surface caused by dissolving of substrate composed primarily of calcium carbonate.
  • peat: partially decayed plant matter formed on the surface of water-logged soils, used as a fertilizer, fuel, or in the production of charcoal.
  • hammock: area that is often higher than the surrounding land with humus rich soil and hardwood trees including oaks, sweetgums, hickories, and palms.