New York Natural Heritage Program
Red Maple-Sweetgum Swamp

General Description [-]
A hardwood swamp dominated by red maple (Acer rubrum) and sweetgum (Liquidambar stryraciflua), that occurs on somewhat poorly-drained seasonally wet flats, over acidic gleyed to mottled clay loam or sandy loam. This community often occurs in mosaic with upland forest communities. The shrub layer is well developed and the herbaceous layer is often dominated by ferns (Edinger et al. 2002).

Characters Most Useful for Identification [-]
Red maple and sweetgum dominate the canopy in this swamp community, and may have associates swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor), red oak (Q. rubra) blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica), and black ash (Fraxinus nigra). The understory is well developed; the shrub layer may include sweet pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia), spicebush (Lindera benzoin), highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum), and swamp azalea (Rhododendron viscosum). The herb layer is dominated by ferns and includes cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea), netted chain fern (Woodwardia areolata), senstive fern (Onoclea sensibilis), jewelweed (Impatiens capensis), and skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus).

Elevation Range [-]
Known examples of this community have been found at elevations between 8 feet and 190 feet.
Red Maple-Sweetgum Swamp Images
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The Best Time to See
The community vegetation is at its peak during midsummer; at this time ferns, sedges, and herbs can be readily observed and identified. Striking seasonal leaf color can be enjoyed in the fall.