Pine Barrens Vernal Pond
The pine barrens vernal pond is a rare wetland community. They are generally small (<5 acres) wetlands fed only by rain and snowmelt, which means they contain the greatest amount of water in the spring (vernal) season and dry up in the summer and fall. Vernal ponds contain no fish, making them safe havens for young reptiles, amphibians, and insects. Most pine barrens vernal ponds in the Albany Pine Bush occur in low valleys between the dunes. Common plants of the pine barrens vernal pond include three-way sedge (Dulichium arundinaceum (L.) Britton), woolgrass (Scirpus cyperinus), cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea), leatherleaf (Chamaedaphne calyculata), mountain holly (Nemophanthus mucronatus), and sphagnum moss (Sphagnum sp.). Small trees such as red maple (Acer rubrum), gray birch (Betula populifolia), and pitch pine (Pinus rigida) may occur along the edges or on hummocks.
Pine Barrens Vernal Pond Quick Facts
- Generally small in area (< 5 acres)
- Standing water in spring and dry later in summer and fall
- Contain no fish