Natural Communities of NH -- Photo Guide


Atlantic white cedar - leatherleaf swamp  (S1)



Atlantic white cedar - leatherleaf swamp is essentially a wooded fen. It occurs within 30+ miles of the coast and is characterized by a broken woodland canopy of Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides), sparse cover of red maple (Acer rubrum), and a dense heath shrub layer dominated by leatherleaf (Chamaedaphne calyculata) and sheep laurel (Kalmia angustifolia). Hummock and hollow topography is not as well-developed as in other Atlantic white cedar swamps. Soils are typically a saturated, poorly-decomposed peat.

Characteristic Vegetation: In addition to Atlantic white cedar, leatherleaf, and sheep laurel, this type is characterized by other boggy plants including large cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon), pitcherplant (Sarracenia purpurea), Virginia chain fern (Woodwardia virginica), round-leaved sundew (Drosera rotundifolia), tawny cotton-grass (Eriophorum virginicum), and three-seeded sedge (Carex trisperma var. trisperma). Scattered tall shrubs may include highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) and sweet pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia). Peat moss (Sphagnum spp.) is abundant, and may include Sphagnum fallax and Sphagnum flavicomans.



A good example of this community occurs in the Cedar Swamp Pond vicinity (Kingston).

Atlantic white cedar - leatherleaf swamps may occur as part of a coastal conifer peat swamp system.


Atlantic white cedar - leatherleaf swamp (photo by Dan Sperduto for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)
Atlantic white cedar - leatherleaf swamp (photo by Dan Sperduto)

leatherleaf in bloom in spring (photo by Ben Kimball)
leatherleaf in bloom in spring (photo by Ben Kimball)


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