Natural Communities of NH -- Photo Guide

Marsh elder shrubland  (S1)



Marsh elder shrubland is a rare community is dominated by marsh elder (Iva frutescens), the only woody plant species that grows in New Hampshire’s salt marshes. This salt shrub community, forming between salt marsh and upland habitats, occurs at just a few sites in the state. It is more common south of New Hampshire. Soil salinities are lower and peat depths are thinner compared to soils in the high salt marsh

Characteristic vegetation: Common associates of the dominant marsh elder include spike grass (Distichlis spicata), salt-meadow cordgrass (Spartina patens), quack grass (Elymus repens), common creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera), salt marsh rush (Juncus gerardii), American common reed (Phragmites australis ssp. americanus), New York aster (Symphyotrichum novi-belgii), and seaside goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens). Less frequent are shore rush (Juncus arcticus var. balticus), Gronovius' dodder (Cuscuta gronovii), sea lavender (Limonium carolinianum), and vanilla grass (Hierochloe odorata).


A good example of this community can be seen at Sandy Point on the south shore of Great Bay at the Great Bay Discovery Center (walk to the outer edge of the boardwalk and look east towards the boat ramp).

Marsh elder shrubland sometimes occurs as part of a larger salt marsh system.


 marsh elder shrubland at Sandy Point on Great Bay (photo by Ben Kimball)
marsh elder shrubland at Sandy Point on Great Bay (photo by Ben Kimball)

marsh elder shrubland at Sandy Point on Great Bay (photo by Bill Nichols for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)
marsh elder shrubland at Sandy Point on Great Bay (photo by Bill Nichols)
 
marsh elder (Iva frutescens ssp. oraria) along the NH seacoast (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)
marsh elder (Iva frutescens ssp. oraria) along the NH seacoast (photo by Ben Kimball)

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