Where to See It
Stream banks along Rock Creek and other small streams form long winding ribbons of the Tuliptree Small-Stream Floodplain Forest. (Exceptions include where steep, bouldery hillsides go straight down to the creek, hosting a different natural community; also, where stretches along the creek are mowed for picnic areas, or where viney and non-native vegetation have taken the upper hand.) Good places to see the Tuliptree Small-Stream Floodplain Forest include
1) an unusually broad section of Rock Creek’s floodplain along the Valley Trail between Boundary Bridge and West Beach Drive. It's near the northwest boundary of Rock Creek Park.
2) on a more typical, narrowing floodplain downstream. It's where West Beach Drive crosses Valley Trail.
3) on the Black Horse Trail at Riley Spring Bridge. This is where groundwater seeps in from the ravine to the west. Look for Dutchman's breeches and yellow trout-lily on Rock Creek's west bank in spring.
The valley that runs the length of Glover Archbold Park used to be a beautiful Tuliptree Small-Stream Floodplain Forest. (It still is in places.) Sections have been altered, however, by channelization of the southern reaches of its stream (Foundry Branch) into large pipes. Non-native invasive plants have also proliferated here.
Yet another example of this community is at the southern end of Battery Kemble Run, a waterway not connected with Rock Creek.
Visit the Rock Creek Park map to find these places.
Tip for desktop users: Type "good places" or place names like "boundary bridge," "west beach drive," "riley spring," "glover archbold" or "battery kemble" in the search function (upper left corner of map). In the search results box, click on what you want to see.