The Strangler Fig – A common hammock tree. Photo by Tom Lodge

Tropical Hardwood Hammocks

A hammock is a localized, mature hardwood forest. By hardwood, the distinction is made that broad-leaved trees are prevalent, as opposed to pines, which normally have softer wood. In Southern Florida, hammocks occur in marshes, pinelands, mangroves swamps, and the upstream heads of the larger tree islands of the peatland Everglades. In order for hammocks to exist, the ground must be high enough so that the seasonal flooding does not occur.

  • Because most of the foliage is overhead, the inside of a mature hammock is easy to explore, with the dense shade inhibiting growth at the ground level.
  • A common characteristic of all tropical hardwood hammocks is intolerance of fire
  • Use plenty of insect repellent when navigating a hammock — mosquitos are common!
  • Hammock wildlife is not rare, but is difficult to see. The spectacular vegetation in such a unique setting is the main attraction.

Lodge, Thomas E.. The Everglades Handbook. CRC Press. Kindle Edition.