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High Elevation Rock Outcrop Plant Community

Last updated about 2 years ago

Characteristic plants of the Southern Appalachian High Elevation Rock Outcrop community.

Distinguishing characteristics: Extensive areas of bare or lichen-covered rock scattered with herb-dominated mats on shallow soils, stunted trees and patches of shrubs where deeper soils accumulate
Occurrence: On the high peaks (above 3000 ft) of the Southern Appalachians, mainly in North Carolina and Tennessee, less frequently in Virginia and Georgia
Conservation aspects: Generally within National/State Parks and other protected areas, over 40 rare plant species. Threatened by trampling along popular trails and overlooks, habitat destruction due to development (ski slopes, rock quarries etc), and particularly vulnerable to global climate change.

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

Image location:
Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina, Linville Peak, elevation 5,280 ft