Government of Nova Scotia Government of Nova Scotia Nova Scotia, Canada




Indicator Plant List

The Nova Scotia Wetland Indicator Plant List was developed by Sean Blaney at the Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre in 2011. It is primarily intended to assist professional wetland assessors identify wetland habitats and their boundaries based on the plants that are present, but will also be useful to anyone with an interest in wetland habitats and the plants that characterize them.

The Wetland Indicator Plant List (xls: 1.3mb) is contained in an Excel spreadsheet that includes over 2200 species of plants that display a range of affinities for wetland habitats (as of July 2012 the list includes plant families). The classification of plants relative to their affinity for wetlands follows the methodology developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Reed 1988). Details related to the classification are included in the Data Dictionary built into the spreadsheet, but affinities range from wetland obligate species (almost always found in wetlands), to facultative wetland species (sometimes found in wetlands), to upland species (species that almost never occur in wetlands in Nova Scotia.

In addition to a plant’s wetland indicator rating, phytogeographic (e.g., northern, temperate deciduous, or coastal plain flora affinities) and additional habitat affinities are included for many species, as are rarity ranks and status as exotic or native species. Details are included in the Data Dictionary, but habitat affinities in addition to affinity for wetlands include (e.g., floodplain, shoreline, marsh, swamp, peatland, forest, seep and aquatic habitat affinities) and physical-chemical tolerances (e.g., pH, salinity).

Species classifications were based on a combination of existing data and best professional judgement. We intend to refine these classifications as new data becomes available and welcome constructive feedback from users. Please provide feedback to:

Krista Hilchey
Acting Wetland Program Coordinator
Nova Scotia Environment
Phone: (902) 424-8944


Reed, P.B. Jr. 1988. National List of Plant Species that Occur in Wetlands: 1988 National Summary. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biological Report 88(24). Washington, D.C. USA.