Everglades Ecosystems

Everglades: Ponds, Sloughs, Prairies, Marshes, Swamps, and Hammocks

We in the Florida Everglades have many different names for what outsiders might refer to as simply “a swamp.” Each ecosystem’s uniqueness starts with the the water and level type of vegetation. Here are several common ones:

  • Pond – Deeper water, less vegetation.
  • Slough (pronounced “slew”) – Free-flowing channels of water, about 3 feet (0.9 meters) deeper than sawgrass marshes.
  • Wet prairie – Similar to a sawgrass marsh, but with more plant diversity.
  • Sawgrass marsh – Very shallow water. This “river of grass” is the most famous Everglades environment.
  • Freshwater swamp – Supports larger trees such as cypress.
  • Hardwood hammock – Elevated above the water and often home to live oak, gumbo limbo, and palms.