floating island

A floating island in a marsh or swamp is formed by a mass of decayed vegetation held together by interlacing roots. Created from plant litter, the mat adds to itself year by year, as its vegetation thrives on rich decay, building a raft or platform, stitching moss and humus together until it grows thick and heavy. It may eventually come to rest on the pond floor. Floating islands in the lakes of Wisconsin are described by May Watts in Reading the Landscape of America as drifting tamarack logs on which moss and seedlings take root, and mats of entangled vegetation, bulrushes, sphagnum moss, leatherleaf, and sundew. “An island came bobbing alongside our rowboat. It consisted of a floating log, with a minute tamarack seedling riding it, in a crack beside a knob of moss.”

Robert Morgan