The Loss of a Unique Wetland in the Piedmont, North Carolina


Jon M. Stucky

Additional Authors:

Robert Coxe


December – 1999


Wake County, North Carolina, Wetland, Piedmont

A forested wetland type unusual for the Piedmont was discovered in northern Wake County, North Carolina in May 1997. The 3.0 ha wetland existed on Wehadkee silt loam that was continuously saturated by groundwater seepage from surrounding slopes. The wetland plant community was best described as either a Nyssa biflora–Liriodendron tulipifera–Pinus (serotina, taeda)/Lyonia lucida–Ilex glabra Forest (Sandhill Streamhead Swamp) or an Acer rubrum var. trilobum / Myrica heterophylla–Gaylussacia frondosa l Andropogon glomeratus–(Sarracenia flava) Woodland (Hillside Seepage Bog), community types that are globally rare or imperiled, respectively. Approximately 20% of the N. biflora population in the wetland were older than 200 yr; the oldest individuals were 280 yr old. The sympatric occurrence of N. biflora, Pinus serotina, Magnolia virginiana, Ilex glabra, Lindera subcoriacea, Smilax laurifolia, Woodwardia virginica, Eleocharis tuberculosa, and Lindernia dubia var. anagallidea, taxa with primarily Coastal Plain distributions, was unusual for the Piedmont. Information from herbarium specimens, county soil surveys, National Wetland Inventory maps, Natural Heritage Program files, and site visits suggested that approximately only five other examples of this wetland type, at the most, currently exist in the Piedmont of North Carolina. Unfortunately, the study wetland was destroyed in December 1997 by a road construction project.