Four Florida wetlands have been studied, by various groups, to provide data on hydrology, biota, and water chemistry. A subset of that data is here further analysed to determine the unifying principles of phosphorus removal. The uptake of this nutrient was found to be first order on an areal basis for long term average performance. Flow-through wetlands exhibit strong gradients in the direction of flow. The first order rate equation was used in conjunction with mass balances on water, soils and biota for water and phosphorus, to determine values of the rate constant ranging from 6.4 to 13 m/yr.