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Central U.S. Hardwood Forests (WWF ecoregion NA0404)

Radnor Lake State Natural Area, Nashville, Tennessee
Radnor Lake State Natural Area, Nashville, Tennessee
(c) 2003 Steven J. Baskauf

Source of bioregions data: Olson, D. M. and E. Dinerstein. The Global 200: Priority ecoregions for global conservation. (PDF file) Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 89:125-126.

Distinctiveness (1=highest,4=lowest): 2 (regionally outstanding)
Among the richest in North America for herbaceous plants and shrubs, with less diverse tree flora.*

Conservation Status (1=most endangered, 5=most intact): 2 (endangered)
Only about 1% intact habitat in small, fragmented blocks.  Threatened by urbanization, invasive species, and fire suppression.*

Characteristic species*
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus rubra (northern red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak) 
Carya cordiformis (bitternut hickory)
Carya ovata (shagbark hickory)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood) 
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Carpinus caroliniana (American hornbeam or ironwood)
Ulmus americana (American elm)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip-tree or tulip poplar)
Liquidambar styraciflua (sweet gum)

Comprehensive list of common Middle Tennessee herbaceous plants

Associated habitats
In this ecoregion, differences in slope and aspect (e.g. north vs. south facing slopes) produce varying moisture conditions which are favorable to particular plant species.  In middle Tennessee, northern Alabama, and parts of Kentucky, limestone areas with shallow soil produce a unique habitat known as cedar glades.

bottomland hardwood forest, Cache River State Natural Area, southern Illinois (c) 2002 Steven J. Baskauf  hires hires
Typical woody species: Acer rubrum (red maple), Acer saccharinum (silver maple), Arundinaria gigantea (giant cane), Asimina triloba (paw-paw), Liquidambar styraciflua (sweet gum), Platanus occidentalis (sycamore), Quercus bicolor (swamp white oak), Quercus lyrata (overcup oak), Quercus michauxii (swamp chestnut oak), Quercus pagoda (cherrybark oak), Quercus palustris (pin oak), Sassafras albidum (sassafras)

mesic slope forest (left: March, right: May) , Radnor Lake State Natural Area, Davidson Co., middle Tennessee (c) 2003 Steven J. Baskauf  hires hires
Typical woody species: Acer saccharum  (sugar maple), Carpinus caroliniana (American hornbeam or ironwood), Fagus grandifolia (American beech), Lindera benzoin (spicebush), Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip-tree or tulip poplar), Nyssa sylvatica (black gum), Ostrya virginiana (hop hornbeam or ironwood), Prunus serotina (black cherry), Quercus alba (white oak), Quercus muehlenbergii (chinkapin oak), Quercus rubra (northern red oak), Ulmus rubra (slippery elm)

dry ridge, Wildcat Bluffs, Cache River State Natural Area, southern Illinois (c) 2002 Steven J. Baskauf  hires hires
Typical woody species: Carya glabra (pignut hickory), Carya ovata (shagbark hickory), Quercus coccinea (scarlet oak), Quercus falcata (southern red oak), Quercus marilandica (blackjack oak), Quercus montana (chestnut oak), Quercus stellata (post oak)

cedar glade, far left: Cedar glades are natural openings in the forest - usually surrounded by Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar). middle left: The limestone substrate is near or at the surface. middle right: The shallow soil produces very dry conditions in summer.  far right: In spring, the glades may be very wet because water does not penetrate the substrate well.  left three: Davidson Co., right: Wilson Co., middle Tennessee (c) 2002 Steven J. Baskauf  hires hires hires hires
Typical woody species: Carya carolinae-septentrionalis (southern shagbark hickory), Forestiera ligustrina (upland swamp-privet or shrub swamp-privet), Fraxinus quadrangulata (blue ash), Hypericum frondosum (cedarglade St. Johnswort), Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar), Opuntia humifusa (devil's-tongue or eastern prickly pear), Rhus aromatica (fragrant sumac)

List of typical cedar glade flowering plant species


* Ricketts, T.H., E. Dinerstein, D.M. Olson, C.J. Loucks, et al.  (1999) Terrestrial Ecoregions of North America: A Conservation Assessment.  World Wildlife Fund - United States and Canada.  Island Press, Washington, D.C. pp. 190-191.

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