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Wetland Indicators

Wetland indicator Status

Our catalog lists the Wetland Rating from the National Wetland Plant List (NWPL) for each species we grow, also known as a species’ wetland indicator status. This provides insight to the moisture conditions different species tolerate. Below is a list of wetland indicators. Be aware that these categories generalize, and plants vary significantly within them on a species-by-species basis

  • OBL (obligate wetland)- Typically only occur in wetland sites. These plants like to be wet and need to be wet. They are often tolerant of flooding but not of drought.
  • FACW (facultative wetland)- Primarily seen in wetland sites, but known to appear in drier locations as well. These plants can often thrive in saturated soils to those with average moisture. Generally, they’re drought intolerant.
  • FAC (facultative)- Typically occur across a wide array of moisture conditions. They can often tolerate wet and dry soils.
  • FACU (facultative upland)- Primarily found in sites with average to dry soil. These plants like to be on the drier end of the spectrum, but aren’t necessarily as drought-tolerant as the upland plants.
  • UPL (upland)- Generally never occur in wetland sites. These plants like to be high and dry. They’re often drought-tolerant, but intolerant to flooding.
Cephalanthus occidentalis (Button bush) with a bumblebee

Wetland indicator status is a classification developed by the U.S. EPA, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Army Corps of Engineers to help categorize plants for conservation and restoration projects. Wetland indicators are a useful tool at Mellow Marsh when we suggest substitutions for requested plants, since they help us ensure we match water requirements. They can be useful to people browsing our catalogue since they provide a filter for water needs.