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High Elevation Red Oak Forest Plant Community

Last updated over 4 years ago

Characteristic plants of the Southern Appalachian High Elevation Red Oak Forest community.

Distinguishing characteristics: Northern Red Oak makes up 75% or more of the canopy
Occurrence: Higher elevations (3,500 - 4,500 ft) in the mountains of Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia; dry to mesic slopes and ridgetops with well-drained, rocky, acidic soils
Conservation aspects: Most forests have been logged. Disturbance and fire exclusion may increase density of understory and hinder oak regeneration. Threatened by gypsy moths causing defoliation and widespread mortality.

References:
T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.

Image location:
Chestoa View Loop Trail, Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 320, elevation 4,090 ft

  • 68425_88_88

    Acer pensylvanicum

    Striped Maple

    occasional to locally abundant understory tree, leaves turn butter-yellow in fall

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 22878_88_88

    Ageratina altissima

    White Snakeroot

    occasional to locally abundant herb, common in "oak orchards" with more open canopy, flowering in late summer and fall

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 35831_88_88

    Amelanchier laevis

    Allegheny Serviceberry

    spring-flowering understory tree

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 79209_88_88

    Athyrium filix-femina var. asplenioides

    Asplenium Ladyfern

    occasional to locally abundant ground cover

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 36163_88_88

    Betula alleghaniensis

    Yellow Birch

    occasional to locally abundant, shade-intolerant opportunistic species common in disturbed areas

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 83336_88_88

    Carex pensylvanica

    Pennsylvania Sedge

    occasional to locally abundant ground cover

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 63275_88_88

    Castanea dentata

    American Chestnut

    occasional to locally abundant, used to be co-dominant canopy tree (chestnut-oak forest) before being decimated by chestnut blight, now mostly persists as root sprouts in the understory, may flower in open, sunny areas with sufficient resources, but rarely produces fruits

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 60461_88_88

    Clematis viorna

    Leather Flower

    occasional to locally abundant summer-flowering herbaceous climbing vine

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 71300_88_88

    Clintonia umbellulata

    White Clintonia

    occasional to locally abundant spring-flowering herb, common in "oak orchards" with more open canopy, clusters of dark blue-black fruits in late summer and fall

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 83194_88_88

    Cornus alternifolia

    Pagoda Dogwood

    occasional to locally abundant multistemmed spring-flowering shrub with small white flowers in flat-topped clusters, dark blue berry-like fruit on red stalks in late summer and fall

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 46219_88_88

    Corylus americana

    American Hazel

    late winter to early spring flowering shrub, edible nuts in late summer and fall quickly harvested by squirrels, blue jays, and other wildlife

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 61556_88_88

    Crataegus macrosperma

    Bigfruit Hawthorn

    occasional to locally abundant small thicket-forming understory tree, white to pink flowers and long, sharp thorns, conspicuous reddish fruits in late summer and fall

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 99675_88_88

    Dennstaedtia punctilobula

    Eastern Hayscented Fern

    occasional to locally abundant ground cover

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 67362_88_88

    Dryopteris campyloptera

    Mountain Woodfern

    occasional to locally abundant ground-cover

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 78317_88_88

    Eupatorium purpureum

    Joe-pye Weed

    rare summer-flowering herb

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 56556_88_88

    Galax urceolata

    Wandflower

    occasional to locally abundant ground cover

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • Gaylussacia ursina (M. A. Curtis) Torr. & A. Gray

    Bear Huckleberry

    occasional to locally abundant deciduous shrub, endemic to the Southern Appalachians, edible dark blue-black berries in late summer and fall

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
    USDA Plants Database
  • 34000_88_88

    Hamamelis virginiana

    Witch-hazel

    occasional to locally abundant understory shrub, leaves turn butter-yellow in fall

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 45391_88_88

    Ilex montana Torr. & A. Gray ex A. Gray

    Mountain Winterberry

    occasional to locally abundant understory shrub, conspicuous reddish fruits in late summer and fall

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 37156_88_88

    Kalmia latifolia

    Mountain Laurel

    occasional to locally abundant evergreen understory shrub, flowers in late spring

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 48467_88_88

    Laportea canadensis

    Canadian Woodnettle

    occasional to locally abundant ground cover

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 34482_88_88

    Liriodendron tulipifera

    Tulip Tree

    shade-intolerant opportunistic tree found in disturbed areas

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 04710_88_88

    Lysimachia quadrifolia

    Whorled Yellow Loosestrife

    occasional to locally abundant spring-flowering herb, common in "oak orchards" with more open canopy, whorled leaves and yellow flowers in late spring and summer

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 43679_88_88

    Maianthemum canadense

    Canada Mayflower

    occasional to locally abundant spring-flowering herb, forms dense mats of short-stemmed plants, tiny white flowers in spring, translucent red berries in late summer

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 14793_88_88

    Nabalus roanensis

    Roan Mountain Rattlesnakeroot

    rare endemic species, listed threatened in Tennessee, flowers in late summer

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
    Tennessee Natural Heritage Program: Rare Plant List 2008
  • 99128_88_88

    Oclemena acuminata

    Whorled Wood Aster

    occasional to locally abundant herb, flowers in summer and fall

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 26188_88_88

    Osmunda claytoniana

    Interrupted Fern

    occasional to locally abundant ground cover

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 97586_88_88

    Pedicularis canadensis

    Early Lousewort

    occasional to locally abundant, spring-flowering herb attracting bumblebees, common in "oak orchards" with more open canopy

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 85049_88_88

    Quercus montana

    Chestnut Oak

    occasional to locally abundant canopy tree

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 42001_88_88

    Rhododendron calendulaceum

    Flame Azalea

    occasional to locally abundant deciduous understory shrub, brightly colored flowers (orange to yellow) in late spring, often tumor-like green galls on stem tips

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 44921_88_88

    Rhododendron catawbiense

    Catawba Rhododendron

    occasional to locally abundant evergreen understory shrub, pink/purple flowers in late spring

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 79149_88_88

    Robinia pseudoacacia

    Black Locust

    occasional to locally abundant spring-flowering tree, shade-intolerant opportunistic species common in disturbed areas

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 73274_88_88

    Rubus allegheniensis

    Allegheny Blackberry

    occasional to locally abundant shrub, clusters of edible dark blue-black fruits in late summer and fall

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 86540_88_88

    Smilax herbacea

    Smooth Carrionflower

    occasional to locally abundant herbaceous climbing vine with odorous yellow-green flower clusters attracting carrion flies, clusters of dark blue-black fruits in late summer and fall

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 46000_88_88

    Solidago curtisii Torr. & A. Gray

    Mountain Decumbent Goldenrod

    occasional to locally abundant herb, flowering late summer to fall

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 02802_88_88

    Thelypteris noveboracensis

    New York Fern

    occasional to locally abundant ground cover

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 39476_88_88

    Vaccinium

    Blueberries

    Deciduous understory shrubs, misc. species, red, blue, or black berries in late summer and fall

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 12679_88_88

    Viburnum lantanoides

    Witch-hobble

    occasional to locally abundant spring-flowering understory shrub

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.