Coastal Plain / Piedmont Small-Stream Floodplain Forest (CEGLA004418)
This plant community is part of a broader group of Coastal Plain and Piedmont Bottomland Forests occurring along floodplains throughout our region. Expect to find this community adjacent to streams in areas with relatively rich soil which may be silty or sandy alluvium or heavier clay-dominated soils. Many of our stream valley parks locally contain examples of this plant community. Typical canopy species are Tuliptree along with Sweetgum as well as Sycamore (especially immediately adjacent to streams). American Elm and Green Ash are now less common because of introduced pests and disease (Dutch Elm Disease and Emerald Ash Borer, respectively). Note too that even mesic oak species like Northern Red Oak and White Oak commonly grade down into these forests. In the understory expect to see more Ironwood, young Green Ash, and Spicebush. Herbaceous layers can be dense, typically with grasses like Sweet Woodreed Grass, White Cutgrass, various sedges, and wetland ferns.
In the garden, you could use this list to create forest buffer edges (depending on how close and far down the nearest stream is – as you get upslope you will see a transition to other plant communities). These species could be used in a more targeted fashion to address modest runoff from storm water in shady areas of your yard.
For more help with plant selection, you can return to our Compendium here.
Indicator Species: Liriodendron tulipifera, Lindera benzoin, Liquidambar styraciflua, Arisaema triphyllum
High constancy and high cover.
These species are both common in this community and because of their size and spread or frequency with which they pop up, they make up the bulk of the plants on site.
Polystichum acrostichoides Carpinus caroliniana Liriodendron tulipifera
Arisaema triphyllum Cornus florida Platanus occidentalis
Acer rubrum Fraxinus pennsylvanica Ulmus americana
Asimina triloba Ilex opaca Parthenocissus quinquefolia
Betula nigra Lindera benzoin
High constancy, but low cover.
These species occur frequently but may only pop up here and there across the site. Another good set of species to get on site once you’ve covered the fundamental components above, but don’t go overboard.
Onoclea sensibilis Carex swanii lex verticillata
Maianthemum racemosum Cinna arundinacea Prunus serotina
Solidago rugosa Dichanthelium clandestinum Quercus alba
Symphyotrichum lateriflorum Leersia virginica Quercus rubra
Carex intumescens Euonymus americanus Sambucus canadensis
Low constancy and low cover.
These species are less common and tend to form smaller stands or be fewer individuals scattered around a site.
Actaea racemosa Salvia lyrata Carya cordiformis
Ageratina altissima Saururus cernuus Carya tomentosa
Chelone glabra Scutellaria integrifolia Cercis canadensis
Desmodium paniculatum Sisyrinchium angustifolium Cornus amomum
Desmodium perplexum Solidago caesia Corylus americana
Dioscorea villosa Verbesina alternifolia Juniperus virginiana
Elephantopus carolinianus Viola sororia Nyssa sylvatica
Eurybia divaricata Brachyelytrum erectum Quercus michauxii
Eutrochium fistulosum Carex blanda Quercus palustris
Packera aurea Carex crinita Quercus phellos
Polygonatum biflorum Carex lurida Sassafras albidum
Potentilla simplex Elymus virginicus Viburnum dentatum
Rudbeckia laciniata Juncus effusus Viburnum prunifolium