Thursday, October 31, 2013

Mid-Michigan Habitats - Emergent Marsh

An Emergent Marsh is a type of wetland found in shallow water along the shores of ponds, lakes, and rivers.  Emergent Marsh is one of the most common habitat types found in Mid-Michigan (and around the entire state).  This type of wetland is characterized by narrow and broad leaved herbacious plants and grasses that float on the surface or emerge above the surface of the water (including water lilies, water plantains, arrowheads, grasses, sedges and cattails).  Surface water may dry out seasonally, but groundwater is never far below the surface.  While trees and shrubs are sometimes found in Emergent Marshes, the saturated soil prevent most woody species from becoming established.  Emergent marshes are usually named aftert their dominant plant type (e.g. a cattail marsh).  Emergent marshes are among the most biologically diverse forms of habitats and can be home to thousands of species of plants and animals.  Among the species of animals that we associate with emergent marshes are the Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) and the Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus).

Selected Plants of the Emergent Marsh

Northern Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor)

Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata)
Bur Marigold (Bidens cernua)

Bur Reed (Sparganium eurycarpum)

Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

Common Arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia)

Common Cattail (Typha latifolia)

Great Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica)

Marsh Vetchling (Lathyrus palustris)

Lizard's Tail (Saururs cernuus)

Mad-dog Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)

Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris)

Narrow-leafed Cattail (Sagittaria latifolia gracilis)

Narrow-leafed Cattail (Typha angustifolia)

Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata)

Spotted Joe-pye Weed (Eutrochium maculatum)

Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

Sweet Flag (Acorus calamus)

Turtlehead (Chelone glabra)

Water Hemlock (Cicuta maculata)

Water Plantain (Alisma triviale)

White Water Lily (Nymphaea odorata)

Yellow Water Lily (Nuphar variegatum)

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