Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium
University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point

Vascular Plants

Plants of Wisconsin

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Natural Communities
Keyword: Beech Forest


Click on community name for photo gallery.

Northern mesic forest
This forest complex covered the largest acreage of any Wisconsin vegetation type prior to European settlement. Sugar maple (Acer saccharum) is dominant or co-dominant in most stands, while hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) was the second most important species, sometimes occurring in nearly pure stands with white pine (Pinus strobus). Beech (Fagus grandifolia) can be a co-dominant with sugar maple in the counties near Lake Michigan. Other important tree species were yellow birch (Betula allegheniensis), basswood (Tilia americana), and white ash (Fraxinus americana). The groundlayer varies from sparse and species poor (especially in hemlock stands) with woodferns (especially Dryopteris intermedia), bluebead lily (Clintonia borealis), clubmosses (Lycopodium spp.), and Canada mayflower (Maianthemum canadense) prevalent, to lush and species-rich with fine spring ephemeral displays. After old-growth stands were cut, trees such as quaking and bigtoothed aspens (Populus tremuloides and P. grandidentata), white birch (Betula papyrifera), and red maple (Acer rubrum) became and still are important in many second-growth Northern Mesic Forests. Several distinct associations within this complex warrant recognition as communities, and draft abstracts of these are currently undergoing review.


Offsite resources:
Virginia Kline's collection of the Vegetation of Wisconsin
Michigan Natural Features Inventory Community descriptions

Vascular Plants

Plants of Wisconsin

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