Collection image

Heath Bald Plant Community

Last updated over 2 years ago

Characteristic plants of the Southern Appalachian Heath Bald community.

Distinguishing characteristics: Dominated by heath shrubs (Ericaceae), with only scattered, stunted trees and a sparse herbaceous layer, typically low species diversity with only 10-20 plant species (primarily shrubs)
Occurrence: Scattered in the higher mountains of Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee
Conservation aspects: Generally occupy small areas in inaccessible, well-protected sites. Threatened by trampling along popular trails and overlooks.

References:
T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.

Image location:
Roan Mountain, Tennessee, Rhododendron Gardens Overlook, elevation 6,200 ft

  • 76578_88_88 Plantae > Rosaceae

    Aronia melanocarpa

    Black Chokeberry

    occasional to locally abundant shrub, common on lower elevation balds, dark blue-black fruits in summer and fall

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 24054_88_88 Plantae > Clethraceae

    Clethra acuminata

    Mountain Pepper-bush

    occasional to locally abundant multistemmed shrub, elongated clusters of small white flowers in summer

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 32176_88_88 Plantae > Convolvulaceae

    Cuscuta rostrata

    Beaked Dodder

    occasional to locally abundant parasitic plant, orange spaghetti-like strands wrapping around the leaves and stems of other plants, dense clusters of tiny white flowers in late summer

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 93651_88_88 Plantae > Diervillaceae

    Diervilla sessilifolia

    Southern Bush-honeysuckle

    occasional to locally abundant deciduous shrub, small clusters of yellow trumpet-shaped flowers in summer attracting bee-like moths

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 42595_88_88 Plantae > Ericaceae

    Epigaea repens

    Trailing Arbutus

    occasional to locally abundant low-growing evergreen

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 49841_88_88 Plantae > Diapensiaceae

    Galax urceolata

    Beetle-weed

    occasional to locally abundant low-growing evergreen

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 17096_88_88 Plantae > Ericaceae

    Gaultheria procumbens

    Eastern Teaberry

    occasional to locally abundant low-growing evergreen, bright red fruits

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 66151_88_88 Plantae > Ericaceae

    Gaylussacia baccata

    Black Huckleberry

    occasional to locally abundant shrub

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 84559_88_88 Plantae > Rosaceae

    Geum radiatum

    Spreading Avens

    rare endemic flowering herb, federally listed endangered wherever found

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
    U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: Endangered Species Program
  • 01564_88_88 Plantae > Ericaceae

    Kalmia buxifolia

    Sandmyrtle

    occasional to locally abundant low-growing evergreen spring-flowering shrub

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 37156_88_88 Plantae > Ericaceae

    Kalmia latifolia

    Mountain Laurel

    abundant in this community, common on lower elevation balds, evergreen spring-flowering shrub

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 08299_88_88 Plantae > Ericaceae

    Menziesia pilosa

    Minniebush

    occasional to locally abundant deciduous spring-flowering shrub, small urn-shaped white flowers with a reddish tinge

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 90955_88_88 Plantae > Ericaceae

    Pieris floribunda

    Mountain Fetterbush

    occasional to locally abundant shrub

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 12360_88_88 Plantae > Dennstaedtiaceae

    Pteridium aquilinum

    Bracken

    occasional to locally abundant ground cover

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 42001_88_88 Plantae > Ericaceae

    Rhododendron calendulaceum

    Flame Azalea

    occasional to locally abundant deciduous shrub, brightly colored flowers (orange to yellow) in late spring

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 44921_88_88 Plantae > Ericaceae

    Rhododendron catawbiense

    Catawba Rhododendron

    abundant in this community, commonly dominates high elevation balds, evergreen shrub with pink/purple flowers in late spring

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 34266_88_88 Plantae > Ericaceae

    Rhododendron maximum

    Great Laurel

    abundant in this community, evergreen summer-flowering shrub

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 08937_88_88 Plantae > Ericaceae

    Rhododendron vaseyi

    Pink-shell Azalea

    rare endemic spring-flowering shrub, intolerant of warm and dry climates

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 01878_88_88 Plantae > Rosaceae

    Rubus allegheniensis

    Allegheny Blackberry

    occasional to locally abundant thicket-forming shrub, white flowers in spring and edible dark blue-black fruits in summer and fall

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 03669_88_88 Plantae > Rosaceae

    Rubus canadensis

    Canadian Blackberry

    occasional to locally abundant thicket-forming shrub, white flowers in spring and edible dark blue-black fruits in summer and fall

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 36257_88_88 Plantae > Smilacaceae

    Smilax rotundifolia

    Common Greenbrier

    occasional to locally abundant vine

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 48439_88_88 Plantae > Melanthiaceae

    Trillium undulatum

    Painted Trillium

    occasional to locally abundant spring flower, bright red fruits

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 27497_88_88 Plantae > Ericaceae

    Vaccinium corymbosum

    Highbush Blueberry

    occasional to locally abundant shrub, edible dark blue fruits in summer and fall

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
  • 95025_88_88 Plantae > Adoxaceae

    Viburnum nudum var. cassinoides

    Wild Raisin

    occasional to locally abundant shrub, brightly colored fruits in summer and fall

    References:
    T. P. Spira: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont, 1st edition, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.