Earth Partnership for Schools
WOODLAND PLANT COMMUNITY - SOUTHERN WET-MESIC FORESTS
Topography: Southern wet-mesic forests often grow on bottomlands; elevated terraces along streams; areas with yearly flooding of short duration; and areas with excess surface wetness in spring and winter and dry conditions in mid-summer.
Composition: Species listed below are most likely found in the community.
Dominant Trees: Silver maple, green ash, and basswood. Red oak and basswood are dominants in a variation of the wet-mesic forest. American elm was once a dominant tree of the wet-mesic forest. Dutch elm disease significantly reduced its numbers.
Common Trees: Green ash, swamp white oak, and river birch.
Typical Shrubs: Elderberry, gooseberry. Vines: woodbine, grape, hogpeanut, dodder, wild yam, moonseed, carrionflower, and poison ivy.
Prevalent Groundlayer: Wood nettle, jewelweed, Jack-in-the pulpit, marsh blue violet. Spring flooding is neither frequent nor prolonged; therefore, a fairly rich display of spring bloomers develops. Typical but not widespread spring plants include green dragon, toothwort, woods phlox, Virginia bluebells, and sweet cicely.
Structure: scattered large trees with few understory trees and shrubs beneath characterize A wet-mesic forest. Large colonies of groundlayer species are common. Nettles, grasses, and sedges tend to form dense colonies. Vines seem to cling to every tree.
Soil: Fine sandy to silty clays, heavy clays. Poor to moderately well drained.
Major Soil Series: Arenzville.
|Summary of Soil Analysis:|
|Stability: Relatively stable. Succeeded by mesic forests only by changes in water supply.|
|Typical Number of Species: Trees 36, Shrubs 42, Herbs 255, Total 333|
|Species Density: 39|
|Guild Key: SE = Spring Ephemeral; ES = Early Summer; LS = Late Summer; SV = Shrub/Vine; WA = Winter Annual; WG = Wintergreen; DI = Dimorphic; MY = Mycotrophic; EV = Evergreen|
|Wildlife: Wood duck, white-eyed vireo, red-shouldered hawk, yellow-throated vireo, northern oriole, wood thrush, scarlet tanager, and beaver.|
|Typical Examples: Wyalusing S.A., Tower Hill State Park.|
|Geographical Distribution: Along rivers and flat lands, Minnesota to New Jersey, south into the Mississippi and Ohio valleys.|