Swamps are a type of wetland dominated by trees rather than mosses or herbaceous vegetation. These wetlands rarely don more than a few inches of water, and vegetation grows from hydric soils rather than peat, such as in a bog.
Typically bordering streams and rivers, swamps flood frequently and therefore the vegetation must be resilient. Trees with “wet feet”, such as black spruce (Picea mariana), tamarack (Larix laricina), balsam fir (Abies balsamea), and white cedar (Thuja occidentalis) can be found there. Mosses and ferns are found in abundance in swamps, as well as shade-tolerant wildflowers such as common wood sorrel (Oxalis montana), goldthread (Coptis trifolia), creeping snowberry (Gaultheria hispidula), and the occasional splash of color with Northern blue flag irises (Iris versicolor).
Dogwood shrubs (Cornus spp.), sweetgale (Myrica gale), and Northern wild raisin (Viburnum nudum) can be found dotted between the trees as well.
A variety of small songbirds can be found here alongside pileated woodpeckers (Dryocopus pileatus), white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), racoons (Procyon lotor), and small weasels such as minks (Neovison vison).
Spring Peepers (Pseudacris crucifer) will frequently utilize the shallow waters of swamps to breed, and the occasional gray tree frog (Hyla versicolor) can be spotted around eye level in the trees.
To explore a swamp at the VIC, visit our Boreal Life or Heron Marsh trails.