National Park Service Blanket
This program highlights the natural and cultural splendour of the greater Blue Mountains through education initiatives and bushwalks. The understories of the cove hardwood forest contain dozens of species of shrubs and vines. Five of the world’s nine families of salamanders are found in the range, consisting of up to thirty-one species. Dominant species in the Smokies include the Eastern redbud Cercis canadensis , flowering dogwood Cornus florida , Catawba rhododendron Rhododendron catawbiense , mountain laurel Kalmia latifolia , and smooth hydrangea Hydrangea arborescens.
Prince Henry Cliff walk
The Ocoee Supergroup consists primarily of slightly metamorphosed sandstones, phyllites, schists, and slate. Early Precambrian rocks, which include the oldest rocks in the Smokies, comprise the dominant rock type in the Raven Fork Valley in the Oconaluftee valley and lower Tuckasegee River between Cherokee and Bryson City.
They consist primarily of metamorphic gneissgraniteand schist. Cambrian sedimentary rocks are found among the outer reaches of the Foothills to the northwest and in limestone coves such as Cades Cove. During the Ordovician period, the North American and African plates collided, destroying the ancient ocean and initiating the Alleghenian orogeny —the mountain-building epoch that created the Appalachian range.
The Mesozoic era saw the rapid erosion of the softer sedimentary rocks from the new mountains, re-exposing the older Ocoee Supergroup formations. Trees were unable to survive at the higher elevations, and were replaced by tundra vegetation. Spruce-fir forests occupied the valleys and slopes below approximately 4, feet 1, m. The persistent freezing and thawing during this period created the large blockfields that are often found at the base of large mountain slopes.
The tundra vegetation disappeared, and the spruce-fir forests retreated to the highest elevations. Hardwood trees moved into the region from the coastal plains, replacing the spruce-fir forests in the lower elevations. The temperatures continued warming until around 6, years ago, when they began to gradually grow cooler. The range’s 1, species of flowering plants include over Glacier National Park To Great Falls Mt of native trees and species of native shrubs.
The Great Smokies are also home to over species of non-vascular plantsand National Park Service Blanket, species of fungi. Balds include grassy balds, which are highland meadows covered primarily by thick grasses, and heath balds, which are dense thickets of rhododendron and mountain laurel typically occurring on narrow ridges.
Mixed oak-pine forests are found on dry ridges, especially on the south-facing North Carolina side of the range. The dominant species include yellow birch Betula alleghaniensisbasswood Tilia americanayellow buckeye Aesculus flavatulip tree Liriodendron tulipifera; commonly called “tulip poplar”silverbells Halesia carolinasugar maple Acer saccharumcucumber magnolia Magnolia acuminatashagbark hickory Carya ovataCarolina hemlock Tsuga caroliniana and eastern hemlock Tsuga canadensis.
The understories of the cove hardwood forest contain dozens of species of shrubs and vines. Dominant species in the Smokies include the Eastern redbud Cercis canadensisflowering dogwood Cornus floridaCatawba rhododendron Rhododendron catawbiensemountain laurel Kalmia latifoliaand smooth hydrangea Hydrangea arborescens. The northern hardwood forests of the Smokies constitute the highest broad-leaved forest in the eastern United States. White basswood Tilia heterophyllamountain maple Acer spicatum and striped maple Acer pensylvanicumand yellow buckeye Aesculus flava are also present.
The northern hardwood understory is home to diverse species such as coneflower, skunk goldenrod, Rugels ragwortbloodroothydrangea, and several species of grasses and ferns. Beech gaps consist of high mountain gaps that have been monopolized by beech trees. The beech trees are often twisted and contorted by the high winds that occur in these gaps.
Why other tree types such as the red spruce fail to encroach into the beech gaps is unknown. While the rise in temperatures between 12, and 6, years ago allowed the hardwoods to return, the spruce-fir forest has managed to survive on the harsh mountain tops, typically above 5, feet 1, m.
About 10, acres 43 km2 of the spruce-fir forest are old-growth. The Fraser Firs, which are native to Southern Appalachia, once dominated elevations above 6, feet 1, m in the Great Smokies.
Thus, red spruce is now the dominant species in the range’s Glacier National Park To Great Falls Mt forest. While much of the red spruce stands in the Smokies were…
The Great Smokies are also home to over species of non-vascular plants , and 2, species of fungi. Beech gaps consist of high mountain gaps that have been monopolized by beech trees. The northern hardwood understory is home to diverse species such as coneflower, skunk goldenrod, Rugels ragwort , bloodroot , hydrangea, and several species of grasses and ferns. In summer, you may see the beautiful yellow and gold flowers of Christmas bells.