Maritime Shrub

Maritimus Frutex

The maritime shrub community occupies 778 of the refuge’s 8,501 acres and tends to occur in the central part of the refuge between the dunes and the marshes. The maritime shrub occurs along the length of the refuge on areas that are naturally or artificially protected from oceanic influence. The buffering action provided by the fore-dunes and mid-dunes is essential for the establishment of this shrubby zone. Where salt spray effects are the greatest, these species form a low spreading cover with many areas of maritime grassland in between. 

Away from the ocean, in the shrub-dominated area, the growth pattern is low and dense forming a closed canopy. This community is dominated by wax myrtle, yaupon holly, American holly, groundsel tree, eastern red cedar, and stunted live oak. The understory of greenbrier, Virginia creeper, grape, poison ivy, and American beautyberry contributes substantially to its habitat value. The shrubs are sculpted by salt spray and susceptible to wild fires that can temporarily return the area to an herbaceous stage of succession. Cleared edges, roadways, and rights-of-way have been invaded by shrub thicket stands. This pattern possesses large areas of “edge space,” a habitat that many wildlife species prefer.

Facts About Maritime Shrub

  • 778 Acres
  • Wax Myrtle
  • Yaupon Holly
  • American Holly
  • Groundsel Tree
  • Eastern Red Cedar
  • Stunted Live Oak