The Everglades is home to more than 750 kinds of seed-bearing plants including bromeliads, cacti, succulents, grasses and lichens, as well as different types of marine plants. Among the 164 plant species are 39 species of orchid.
The Everglades lies at the geographical point where the tropical weather system of the Caribbean and the temperate system of North America overlap. As a result, the park is home to plant species that thrive in either climate.
The warm, wet weather in south Florida is perfectly suited for a lush assortment of plant life. Nine distinct ecosystems have been identified in the Everglades. These overlapping systems provide plant species that flourish in many different systems. The amount and duration of flooding, including the type and quality of floodwater, controls the distribution of the vegetation. The flat land, proximity to the ocean, elevation and soil type all combine to create a system perfectly suited for the abundant plant life.
Much of the vegetation that thrives in the Everglades is not native. Throughout history, wetlands have been drained, plants have been removed, and non-native plants have been introduced. The Everglades National Park was created in 1947, and since then the conservation efforts have been largely successful. However, by that time, many of the newly introduced species had taken hold, and the ecosystem had been irreversibly transformed.