Tropical hardwood hammocks are unique to southern Florida. These diverse forests are characterized by a closed canopy of temperate hardwood and tropical hardwood trees. Overall biodiversity in hardwood hammocks increases southward along the coast of Florida. This is due to an increase in both the number and abundance of tropical hardwood species and understory plants, which follows the increase in mean temperature between temperate and subtropical climate.
The climate in southern Florida gives way to tropical hardwood hammocks, which differ from temperate hardwood hammocks father north by the number and abundance of tropical plant species. One group of plats, specifically, epiphytes, or air plants. Epiphytic species, such as bromeliads and orchids, have adapted to life in these shady hammocks by anchoring their roots to the boughs and branches of trees, rather than in the soil. Living up in the tree canopy offers the plants fewer predators and more sunlight.
|Gumbo Limbo (Bursera simaruba)||Marlberry (Ardisia escallonioides)|