Places We Protect

Hottonia Bottoms Preserve

Oklahoma

Trees of the bottomland hardwood forest.
Hottonia Bottoms Preserve Hottonia Bottoms Preserve in Oklahoma © Mike Fuhr/TNC

One of the most biologically rich natural systems in Oklahoma and home to the rare aquatic wildflower, Hottonia inflata.

Overview

Description

Hottonia Bottoms Preserve is located in south central Oklahoma on the Antlers Aquifer, a large sand landform in the Red River drainage basin. This preserve also sits within the Upper West Gulf Coastal Plain ecoregion, spanning portions of Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana.

The preserve’s name Hottonia Bottoms comes from its ecologically rich bottomland hardwood forest community and Hottonia inflata, the American featherfoil, a biologically interesting and attractive native aquatic plant found on the preserve. Hottonia inflata is one of many rare plant species found on wetlands with known occurrences only in Oklahoma, Indiana, Ohio and West Virginia.

Habitats in this ecoregion may contain more than 30 plant species per square meter—a density on par with tropical forests—making it one of the most biologically productive ecosystems on land, second only to coastal estuaries.

Access

CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC

Due to sensitive habitat and remote location, the preserve is closed to the public.

Location

Atoka County

Map with marker: Located near Atoka county, Oklahoma

Highlights

Migratory birds, Hottonia inflata, Western chicken turtle, American burying-beetle, Bottomland hardwood forests

Size

1,030 acres

Explore our work in Oklahoma

Photos from Hottonia Bottoms

Discover the unique endemic species of the bottomland hardwood forest.

Hottonia inflata aquatic flower.
Two women observing the tree canopy.
Woodhouse toad.
Broad-banded snake.
Western chicken turtle.
One woman standing in a blooming meadow.
Orange fungi on a tree.
Hottonia inflata dense root system.
Pearl crescent butterfly.
Packera in bloom.
Trees of the bottomland hardwood forest
Hottonia Bottoms Preserve Hottonia Bottoms Preserve in Oklahoma © Mike Fuhr/TNC

Background

Hottonia inflata, commonly known as the American featherfoil, is a very beautiful and extraordinarily interesting aquatic wildflower. At first glance, it appears to be gently floating on the water’s surface however, there is a dense underwater stem and root system. You are most likely to come across featherfoil inhabiting shallow pools, ditches,...

Hottonia inflata, commonly known as the American featherfoil, is a very beautiful and extraordinarily interesting aquatic wildflower. At first glance, it appears to be gently floating on the water’s surface however, there is a dense underwater stem and root system. You are most likely to come across featherfoil inhabiting shallow pools, ditches, swamps, oxbow lakes and beaver ponds. Generally sporadic in occurrence, the featherfoil is disjunct on the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains: from Maine to Georgia, west to east Texas, northward up the Mississippi River to Missouri and Illinois and then up the Ohio River. Outside of Oklahoma, there are few known occurrences in Indiana (two occurrences), Ohio (possibly extirpated) and West Virginia (one occurrence). Much of the wildflowers' historical habitat has been lost to development, draining of wetlands, siltation and the unsustainable harvest of beavers throughout its range. 

Also found on the preserve are rare animal species including goldstripe darter, western chicken turtle, and the American burying beetle which is a federally-listed endangered species. The preserve also provides a habitat for migratory birds in the central flyway. 

Rivers and streams are the lifeblood of these bottomland hardwood forest ecosystems. At Hottonia Bottoms, Clear Boggy Creek, a tributary to the Muddy Boggy River, flows along the preserve’s boundary. This area acts as a floodplain zone during spring floods where soil, seeds and sediments from upstream forests become natural fertilizer for plants making these rich, moist soils the perfect habitat to nourish an explosion of biological diversity. 

Hottonia Bottoms also provides economic value to southern Oklahoma in flood control, erosion control, protection of water quality along with habitat for many bird and aquatic species. Threats to this area include habitat fragmentation or destruction, incompatible logging practices, altered hydrologic regime, soil erosion, sedimentation, poor water quality, invasive species and alteration of natural fire and grazing regimes.

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Nearby Preserves

Need more nature? Visit The Nature Conservancy's other preserves in Oklahoma.

Find More Places We Protect

The Nature Conservancy owns nearly 1,500 preserves covering more than 2.5 million acres across all 50 states. These lands protect wildlife and natural systems, serve as living laboratories for innovative science and connect people to the natural world.

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