Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Soil and plant diversity

Rich Cove Forests are a plant community found at low to moderate elevations in deep coves and concave slopes in the Piedmont and Mountains of the Southeastern U.S.

They're characterized by fertile well-drained soil rich in calcium and magnesium (because of underlying base-rich rock types) and usually full of a diversity of woodland wildflowers.  This was certainly true of the great area that we visited yesterday in Chimney Rock State Park in NC.  Check out what the soil looked like!

soil in a rich cove forest
In contrast, Acidic Cove Forests, found in similar coves and slopes, have more acidic soils and support a variety of heath family shrubs in the understory (Rhododendron spp., Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel), for example) with a sparser array of spring wildflowers.  The trail yesterday went through several typical acidic cove forest habitats (full of Rhododendron in flower) before passing through the rich cove forest areas.

The contrast was remarkable and magical.  It's great to get out in the natural world!
Trillium cuneatum (Little Sweet Betsy)


  1. That is some good looking soil and those trillium are awesome! Love seeing them in the wild! Glad to hear you are going to the Fling. I look forward to meeting you too!

  2. I have one lonely trillium - but I love it!


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