Swamp? What Swamp?

Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park, Copeland, Collier County

marl prairie

First-time visitors to Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park might wonder, "where's the swamp?" as they enter the park and begin making their way down Janes Scenic Drive. A vast, open prairie dominates the landscape on both sides of the road. It's grasses and sedges punctuated by a few lonely cabbage palms and small, stunted cypress trees. These cypress, sometimes called hat rack cypress, can be mature trees decades old, yet stand a dozen feet tall, or less because of the nutrient-poor soils in which they grow. The soil here is thin and has a high calcium content, and sits atop limestone bedrock. Marl prairies become inundated with water parter of the year, preventing frees from dominating the landscape. NEXT STOP: Down Janes Scenic Drive


Published by Wild South Florida, PO Box 7241, Delray Beach, FL 33482.
Photographs by David Sedore. Photographs are property of the publishers and may not be used without permission.