The vascular flora of Coastal Indian clam shell middens in South Carolina, U.S.A.
The vascular plant species of Native American clam shell middens were sampled during the 2009–2013 growing seasons. The 15 middens selected in this study include Sewee midden north of Charleston, 6 at Hobcaw Barony in North Inlet-Winyah Bay Natural Research Preserve in North Inlet, and a cluster of 8 middens at Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. The vascular flora consists of 129 species within 114 genera in 48 families. The Poaceae (30 species), Asteraceae (12 species), and Fabaceae (12 species) are the largest families. Sporobolus (5 species) and Cyperus (3 species) are the largest genera in the flora. Species diversity was highest at the Sewee midden, and at the large Allston House midden on private property at Murrells Inlet. All middens in this study border on, or are islands within, salt marshes. Soil salinity and tidal flooding influence the distribution of salt marsh vascular plant species at South Carolina tidal marsh clam shell middens.
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