Dry-Mesic Chestnut Oak - Northern Red Oak Forest (Central Appalachian)

Park specific natural communities coming soon.

This natural community is found on steep, rocky, somewhat protected slopes. American witch-hazel is prevalent below a canopy of chestnut oak and northern red oak. Low plants are generally sparse or patchy. (There are other natural communities with similar composition; this one is found in the Central Appalachians.) 

This natural community can be found on protected rocky slopes in the Central Appalachians.

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

More About This Natural Community

The most common trees in the Dry-Mesic Chestnut Oak - Northern Red Oak Forest are chestnut oak and northern red oak. Other trees may include tuliptree, red maple, and pignut hickory. In the shrub layer, look for American witch-hazel and mapleleaf viburnum. Low plants are sparse in steep and rocky areas, but can be more lush in spots where soil has accumulated. Look for white wood-aster and marginal woodfern.

This natural community is intermediate both in composition and habitat between dry ridge-top oak forests and richer oak - hickory forests in coves or on sheltered slopes.

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

  • Appalachian Trail (Central Appalachians)
  • Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Catoctin Mountain Park
  • Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park
  • George Washington & Jefferson National Forests 
  • George Washington Memorial Parkway
  • Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
  • Monocacy National Battlefield
  • Morristown National Historical Park 
  • Shenandoah National Park 

Conservation Status

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

Global Conservation Status: 
G5 – Secure


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

Common Name: 
Dry-Mesic Chestnut Oak - Northern Red Oak Forest (Central Appalachian)
Scientific Name Translated: 
Chestnut Oak - Northern Red Oak / American Witch-hazel Forest
Classification Code: