LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

Pocosin Wetland

Figure 12. The savanna meets a pocosin wetland. (Photograph by the author. More about the photograph)

Figure 12 shows an area where the longleaf pine forest meets, and grades into, a pocosin wetland. Pocosins are unusual wetlands because they are generally higher than their surroundings. Native Americans recognized this and called these communities “swamps on a hill.” Pocosin is the Algonquin word for that phrase.

The area where two natural communities meet is called an ecotone by ecologists. These areas often support a diverse biota because members of each community are found as well as plants and animals that occur between the communities but not within either one of them. The ecotone between longleaf pine savannas and pocosins is of particular interest because rare plants such as Venus flytraps and rough-leaf loosestrife are found here and almost nowhere else. Note the low-growing broad leafed vegetation of the pocosin extending into the pine savanna in the middle of the photograph.