The vascular flora of Huggins Island, Onslow County, North Carolina.
Huggins Island, a Significant Natural Heritage Area in Onslow County, North Carolina, was incorporated into Hammocks Beach State Park in 1999. The 60 ha island has a long history of human activity, exemplified by shell middens, a Civil War earthen fortification, and farm clearings. An inventory of the flora from 2001-2005 found 192 species of vascular plants in 148 genera and 75 families. Thirteen species were new county records, and five species were Significantly Rare in North Carolina. Thirteen species of exotics occurred, 10 of which are invasive in the Southeast. Eleven major plant communities were recognized, including previously recognized, globally rare, maritime swamp forest. The largest community was maritime evergreen forest, and the most species rich was shell midden community. Few signs of human habitation and farming were visible, but most of the upland had storm damage, likely resulting from a series of hurricanes from the mid-1990s.