Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium
University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point

Vascular Plants

Plants of Wisconsin

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Natural Communities
Keyword: Pine Barrens


Click on community name for photo gallery.

Central sands pine-oak forest
This forest community is associated with the Central Sands ecoregion on dry to dry-mesic sites with acid sandy soils. The dominants are white and red pines (Pinus strobus and P. resinosa), oaks (Quercus alba, Q. rubra, and Q. velutina), and on dry-mesic sites, red maple (Acer rubrum). The understory is typically depauperate consisting primarily of huckleberry (Gaylussacia baccata), early blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium), bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinium), wood anemone (Anemone quinquefolia) and Penn sedge (Carex pensylvanica). Jack pine (Pinus banksiana) is sometimes co-dominant on the driest sites (jack pine – black / Hills oak dominated stands maybe split out in the future).

Great Lakes barrens
In Wisconsin, this variant of pine savanna is known from only one sandy site on Lake Superior. The dominant trees in this open stand are wind- and fire-deformed trees, red pines (Pinus resinosa) with white pine (P. strobus) also present. The understory consists of dense growths of lichens with scattered thickets of common juniper (Juniperus communis), early blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) and huckleberry (Gaylussacia baccata). Other common plants are hairgrass (Deschampsia flexuosa), ticklegrass (Agrostis hyemalis), false-heather (Hudsonia tomentosa), and bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva–ursi).

Pine barrens
This savanna community is characterized by scattered jack pines (Pinus banksiana), or less commonly red pines (P. resinosa), sometimes mixed with scrubby Hill's and bur oaks (Quercus ellipsoidalis and Q. macrocarpa), interspersed with openings in which shrubs such as hazelnuts, (Corylus spp.) and prairie willow (Salix humilis) and herbs dominate. The flora often contains species characteristic of "heaths" such as blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium and V. myrtilloides), bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi), American hazelnut (Corylus americana), sweet fern (Comptonia peregrina), and sand cherry (Prunus pensylvanica). Also present are dry sand prairie species such as june grass (Koeleria macrantha), little bluestem ( Schizachyrium scoparium), silky and sky-blue asters (Aster sericeus and A. azureus), lupine (Lupinus perennis), blazing-stars (Liatris asper and L. cylindracea), and western sunflower (Helianthus occidentalis). Pines may be infrequent, even absent, in some stands in northern Wisconsin and elsewhere because of past logging, altered fire regimes, and an absence of seed source.


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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