Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium
University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point

Vascular Plants

Plants of Wisconsin

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Natural Communities
Keyword: Southern Upland Forest


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Hemlock relict
These are isolated hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) stands occuring in deep, moist ravines or on cool, north or east facing slopes in southwestern Wisconsin. Associated trees include white pine (Pinus strobus), and yellow birch (Betula allegheniensis). The groundlayer includes herbaceous species with northern affinities such as shining clubmoss (Lycopodium lucidulum), bluebead lily (Clintonia borealis), canada mayflower (Maianthemum canadense), and woodferns (Dryopteris spp). Cambrian sandstone cliffs are usually nearby and often prominent.

Pine relict
These isolated stands of white pine (Pinus strobus) and red pine (P. resinosa) or, less commonly, jack pine (P.banksiana), that occur on sandstone outcrops or in thin soils over sandstone in the Driftless Area of southwestern Wisconsin, have historically been referred to as relicts. The understories often contain species with northern affinities such as blueberries (Vaccinium spp.), huckleberry (Gaylussacia baccata), wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens), pipsissewa (Chimaphila umbellata), and partridge-berry (Mitchella repens), sometimes mixed with herbs typically found in southern Wisconsinís oak forests and prairies.

Southern dry forest
Oaks are the dominant species in this upland forest community of dry sites. White oak (Quercus alba) and black oak (Quercus velutina) are dominant, often with admixtures of red and bur oaks (Q. rubra and Q. macrocarpa) and black cherry (Prunus serotina). In the well developed shrub layer, brambles (Rubus spp.), gray dogwood (Cornus racemosa), and American hazelnut (Corylus americana) are common. Frequent herbaceous species are wild geranium (Geranium maculatum), false Solomon's-seal (Smilacina racemosa), hog-peanut (Amphicarpaea bracteata), and woodland sunflower (Helianthus strumosus).

Southern dry-mesic forest
Red oak (Quercus rubra) is a common dominant tree of this upland forest community type. White oak (Q. alba), basswood (Tilia americana), sugar and red maples (Acer saccharum and A. rubrum), and white ash (Fraxinus americana) are also important. The herbaceous understory flora is diverse and includes many species listed under Southern Dry Forest plus jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum), enchanter's-nightshade (Circaea lutetiana), large-flowered bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora), interrupted fern (Osmunda claytoniana), Lady Fern (Athyrium Filix-femina), tick-trefoils (Desmodium glutinosum and D. nudiflorum), and hog peanut (Amphicarpa bracteata) . To the detriment of the oaks, mesophytic tree species are becoming increasingly important under current management practices and fire suppression policies.

Southern mesic forest
This upland forest community occurs on rich, well-drained soils. The dominant tree species is sugar maple (Acer saccharum), but basswood (Tilia americana) and (near Lake Michigan) beech (Fagus grandifolia) may be co-dominant. Many other trees are found in these forests, including those of the walnut family (Juglandaceae). The understory is typically open (sometimes brushy with species of gooseberry (Ribes) if there is a past history of grazing) and supports fine spring ephemeral displays. Characteristic herbs are spring-beauty (Claytonia virginica), trout-lilies (Erythronium spp.), trilliums (Trillium spp.), violets (Viola spp.), bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides), mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum), and Virginia waterleaf (Hydrophyllum virginianum).


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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