Northern Coastal Plain / Piedmont Mesic Mixed Hardwood Forest (CEGL006075)
One of our most common forest communities in our region. Typified by dominance of American Beech and Tuliptree in the canopy interspersed with oaks and hickories. Understory layer is frequently dominated by Ironwood, American Holly, and Dogwood though the latter is less common because of Anthracnose. For the herbaceous layer, expect plenty of areas of open leaf litter between somewhat sparse herbaceous stands especially in areas where Beech is most dominant. Topography can vary from slopes and ravines to flatter areas. Locally, deer overabundance may be suppressing understory shrubs like Euonymus americanus and Viburnum acerifolium and favoring the spread of deer-resistant species like Pawpaw and Spicebush.
In a garden context, think about this list as a good place to start for recreating a buffer at the edge of your property in medium-moisture settings, or replanting under existing tuliptree canopy. Perhaps you want to enjoy a nice evergreen Christmas Fern glade – in which case integrating some of these other canopy, understory, and herbaceous plants would help you towards a more natural arrangement.
For more help with plant selection, you can return to our Compendium here.
Indicator Species: Fagus grandifolia, Liriodendron tulipifera, Quercus alba, Quercus rubra, Polystichum acrostichoides, Ilex opaca
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 Carya tomentosa Nyssa sylvatica
Acer rubrum Cornus florida Quercus alba
Asimina triloba Ilex opaca Quercus rubra
Carpinus caroliniana Liriodendron tulipifera Quercus velutina
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.
Maianthemum racemosum Sassafras albidum
Polygonatum biflorum Viburnum acerifolium
Euonymus americanus Parthenocissus quinquefolia
Low constancy, but high cover.
These species pop up less frequently but when they do, they tend to be relatively major components of the landscape either because of their size (in the case of trees and large shrubs), because they form large stands, or because they do well exploiting a certain niche on site.
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 Carex rosea Hydrangea arborescens
Arisaema triphyllum Carex swanii Ilex verticillata
Eurybia divaricata Luzula echinata Juniperus virginiana
Houstonia purpurea Carya cordiformis Lindera benzoin
Solidago caesia Carya ovalis Quercus phellos
Symphyotrichum lateriflorum Cercis canadensis Rhododendron periclymenoides
Viola sororia Chionanthus virginicus Viburnum dentatum
Brachyelytrum erectum Diospyros virginiana Viburnum prunifolium
Carex laxiculmis Hamamelis virginiana