Mesic Oak Forest (Coastal Plain)

Coastal Plain Mesic Oak Forest mixes it up with sweetgum, sometimes pines, and some of the oaks common to the Atlantic Coastal Plain between New Jersey and Washington, D.C. (southern red oak, willow oak, white oak, and swamp chestnut oak).

This community occurs in the central Atlantic Coastal Plain in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.

The range map shows the states in which this natural community has been documented.

More About This Natural Community

The canopy of the Coastal Plain Mesic Oak Forest consists of southern red oak, willow oak, white oak, and swamp chestnut oak, and commonly also sweetgum and red maple. Pines may be present, including pitch pine, shortleaf pine, and loblolly pine. Understory trees include American holly and common serviceberry. In the patchy shrub layer, you may find huckleberries draped with greenbriers. The field layer, though sparse, may contain partridgeberry, royal fern, or slender woodoats.

This natural community typically—but not always—borders wetlands and occurs on sand in areas with a high water table. For a more in-depth look at this community, click on a link under “Where to Explore It.”

Look for It in These National Parks

  • National Capital Parks – East
  • Rock Creek Park

Conservation Status

How vulnerable is a natural community? Is it at risk of elimination? Learn about conservation status.

Global Conservation Status: 
GNR – Not yet assessed


Official names reduce confusion by providing a common language for talking about natural communities. Why so many names?

Common Name: 
Mesic Oak Forest (Coastal Plain)
Scientific Name Translated: 
Southern Red Oak - Swamp Chestnut Oak / American Holly Forest
Classification Code: