Tuliptree Small-Stream Floodplain Forest

About This Natural Community

The first step to recognizing this natural community is to recognize its setting—the floodplains of small streams. When streams overflow, they flood these areas and deposit sediment from upstream. The canopy of the Tuliptree Small-Stream Floodplain Forest is dominated by tuliptree in variable combinations with other trees such as red maple and box-elder. You may also see American sycamore trees and American hornbeam. Eastern poison-ivy vines are common, so watch out! The field layer (low plants) is diverse and may include jumpseed and jewelweed. It may also be overrun with non-native plants because this type of habitat is fertile and has been frequently disturbed not only by flooding and sedimentation, but by human use as well—including farming and grazing, utility corridors, recreation, and development. Non-native Japanese stiltgrass* is often abundant.

Soils are generally silts, sands, and clays deposited by floods. For a more in-depth look at this community, click on a link under “Where To Explore It.”

Where It's Found

The Tuliptree Small-Stream Floodplain Forest is found in the Piedmont of Maryland and Virginia. It occupies floodplains and terraces of streams that would be described in everyday language as large streams or small rivers. (Geologists and ecologists use the word “stream” to describe any body of flowing water, even those that the general public would call a river.)

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

Places Where It's Known

  • Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
  • Booker T. Washington National Monument
  • Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park
  • George Washington Memorial Parkway
  • Manassas National Battlefield Park
  • Rock Creek Park
  • Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts

Conservation Status

Learn about conservation status

Global Conservation Status: Apparently Secure
Abbreviated Common Name: Tuliptree Small-Stream Floodplain Forest
Common Name: Northern Piedmont Small-Stream Floodplain Forest
Scientific Name Translated: Tuliptree – (Red Maple, Box-elder) – (Sycamore) / American Hornbeam / Jumpseed Forest
Natural Community Code: CEGL006492

Photo Credits  Banner Image: Small-Stream Floodplain Forest (cropped) – Ery Largay; American bladdernut blooms (cropped) and common paw paw bloom (cropped) – Matt Jones