Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Mid-Michigan Habitats - Beech/Sugar Maple Forest

The American Beech/Sugar Maple Forest is type of Eastern Broadleaf Forest that occurs in areas with mesic soil.  Mesic soils are deep, well-drained, and fertile.  They hold moderate amounts of moisture throughout the year.  The American Beech/Sugar Maple Forest is one of the richest habitat types in Mid-Michigan.  Plants that live in the American Beech/Sugar Maple Forest do not have to contend with the saturated soils of wetlands or the dry soils of upland sites.  The Sugar Maple is the dominant tree species in mesic sites with more moisture; the American Beech is dominant in drier sites within this habitat.  All of the species below can be found in Isabella County and throughout Mid-Michigan.

Canopy Trees

 The two co-dominant species are the Sugar Maple and American Beech.

Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)

American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)

Other common trees in the American Beech/Sugar Maple Forest include:

American Basswood (Tilia americana)

Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)

Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)

Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)

Chinquapin Oak (Quercus muehlenbergii)

Red Maple (Acer rubrum)

Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra)

White Oak (Quercus alba)

Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus)

In more northern regions, the American Beech is gradually replaced by the Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) as one of the two co-dominant species.  Because Mid-Michigan sits on this transition zone between the American Beech/Sugar Maple and Sugar Maple/Hemlock Forest types we have a forest type that combines the two - the Beech/Maple/Hemlock Forest.

Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)
Selected Wildflowers of the American Beech/Sugar Maple Forest

The majority of wildflowers that grow within the American Beech/Sugar Maple Forest are spring ephemerals.  They bloom (and often die back) before the canopy fully leafs out in the Spring.

Large-flowered Trillium (Trillium grandiflorum)

Common Blue Violet (Viola sororia)

Downy Yellow Violet (Viola pubescens)

Dutchman's Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria)

Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica)

Cut-leaved Toothwort (Cardamine concatenata)

Wild Blue Phlox (Phlox divaricata)

False Rue-anemone (Enemion biternatum)

Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum)

Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides)

Blue-stemmed Goldenrod (Solidago caesia)

Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense)

Wild Leek (Allium tricoccum)

Beech-drops (Epifagus virginiana)

Yellow Trout Lilly (Erythronium americanum)

No comments:

Post a Comment