Pond Pine Shrub Pocosin

Habitat: Pond Pine Shrub Pocosin

Pond pine shrub pocosin is the most prevalent habitat type on the refuge and occupies 50,012 of the refuges 153,017 acres. It occurs primarily in the eastern half of the refuge with large areas occurring in-the northeastern and southeastern sections on intermediate depth organic soils. Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge exhibits typical pocosin vegetation, which is a dense growth of shrubs sometimes associated with trees. The most common shrubs are titi, honey cup, fetterbush, bitter gallberry, and sweet gallberry growing with greenbrier. Shrubs and vines often grow so densely that walking through them is almost impossible. Some shrubs that inhabit the refuge are evergreen, but the two most important deciduous species are titi and honey cup.   

Dominant trees are usually pond pines with some loblolly bays, red bays, and sweet bays. Because of various factors, trees and shrubs change in height, density and relative species composition from one area to another throughout the refuge. In some areas, shrubs are fairly short (two to three feet) and the only trees are a few scattered pond pines that are crooked and very stunted. Very few species are able to adapt to nutrient-poor, acidic, organic soils, and long period of high water table in the pocosin habitat. The diversity present is attributed to the fact that openings in the vegetation remain which permit establishment of such herbaceous species as sphagnum, Virginia chain-fern, sedges, trumpets, red pitcher plant, sundews, cotton grass, beakrush, bladderwort, yellow-eyed grass, hatpins, and broom sedge. These open areas may also have shrubs like lambkill, leatherleaf, and huckleberry that are less common in denser areas. 

Facts About Pond Pine Shrub Pocosin

Typical shrubs:    

  • titi
  • honey cup
  • fetterbush
  • bitter gallberry
  • sweet gallberry  
  • greenbrier

Dominant trees:  

  •  pond pines
  •  loblolly bays
  •  red bays
  •  sweet bays