Florida’s High Pine and Scrub

Upland Mixed Woodland
Upland mixed woodland occurs on loamy soils on drier sites than upland hardwood forest and is often found in the ecotone between upland hardwood forest and frequently burned sandhill or upland pine where fires burn into the hardwood forest edge. Its dominant hardwood species are more resistant to fire than are those in the upland hardwood forest and less resistant than those of the sandhills. Upland mixed woodland has an open to partially closed canopy of southern red oak (Quercus falcata), mockernut hickory (Carya alba), post oak (Quercus stellata), blackjack oak (Quercus marilandica), and, black oak (Quercus velutina), mixed with shortleaf and/or longleaf pines (Pinus echinata, P. palustris). Pignut hickory (Carya glabra) and white oak (Quercus alba) may also be present.

Upland Pine
Upland pine is a woodland of widely spaced pines with a sparse to moderate shrub layer and a dense, species-rich groundcover of grasses and herbs, occurring on gently rolling terrain. The canopy is dominated by longleaf pine (Pinus palustris); shortleaf pine (P. echinata) also may be present. There is an intermittent subcanopy layer of smaller pines, and hardwoods including southern red oak (Quercus falcata), blackjack oak (Q. marilandica), flowering dogwood (Cornus florida), bluejack oak (Q. incana), post oak (Q. stellata), sassafras (Sassafras albidum), laurel oak (Q. hemisphaerica), winged sumac (Rhus copallinum), common persimmon (Diospyros virginiana), sand post oak (Q. margaretta), mockernut hickory (Carya alba), and sourgum (Nyssa sylvatica).

Sandhill occurs on crests and slopes of rolling hills and ridges with steep or gentle topography. Soils are deep, marine-deposited, often yellowish sands that are well-drained and relatively infertile. Sandhill is characterized by widely spaced pine trees with a sparse midstory of deciduous oaks and a moderate to dense groundcover of grasses, herbs, and low shrubs. Sandhill occurs on the rolling topography and deep sands of the Southeastern U.S. Coastal Plain. Typical associations or indicator species are longleaf pine (Pinus palustris), turkey oak (Quercus laevis), and wiregrass (Aristida stricta var. beyrichiana). On the southern Lake Wales Ridge, South Florida slash pine (P. elliottii var. densa) may replace longleaf pine. The midstory trees and low shrubs can be sparse to dense, depending on fire history, and may include turkey oak, bluejack oak (Q. incana), sand live oak (Q. geminata), sand post oak (Q. margaretta), saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), sparkleberry (Vaccinium arboreum), dwarf huckleberry (Gaylussacia dumosa), pricklypear (Opuntia humifusa), and gopher apple (Licania michauxii).

Scrub is located on dry, infertile, sandy ridges which often mark the location of former Plio-Pleistocene shorelines. Scrub is a community composed of evergreen shrubs, with or without a canopy of pines, and is found on dry, infertile, sandy ridges. The signature scrub species – three species of shrubby oaks, Florida rosemary (Ceratiola ericoides), and sand pine (Pinus clausa) – are common to scrubs throughout the state. The dominance of these species, however, is variable from site to site. The most common form is oak scrub, dominated by three species of shrubby oaks – myrtle oak (Quercus myrtifolia), sand live oak (Q. geminata), and Chapman’s oak (Q. chapmanii), plus rusty staggerbush (Lyonia ferruginea) and saw palmetto (Serenoa repens).

Source: Guide to the Natural Communities of Florida, 2010 Edition