How to Recognize It
You’ll come across this natural community in the parts of Rock Creek Park that are in the Coastal Plain, usually in areas that were cleared during the Civil War era. Willow oak, southern red oak, and white oak form the canopy of the Coastal Plain Oak Forest, and vines (native and non-native) are common in the understory.
Listen to a podcast about this natural community.
Can you find this combination of key features?
Identifying This Natural Community
- Mix of oak species, often including one or more of these: southern red oak (leaves with velvety, tan undersides), willow oak (leaves nearly pencil-thin), white oak (leaves with curvy outlines)
- (Optional) sweet gum and/or evergreen loblolly pine trees
- Vines (non-native and/or native) in the understory
- Near-absence of heath family shrubs and American beech trees
- Located on flat or rolling areas east of the core of Rock Creek Park
If so, welcome to Rock Creek Park’s Coastal Plain Oak Forest!
Not sure? Try the Compare Natural Communities tool.