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Rock Creek Park

This natural community at Rock Creek Park is easy to spot because of the abundance of chestnut oak and near absence of American beech. The understory can be an almost continuous layer of mountain laurel, an evergreen shrub in the heath family. You’ll find the Chestnut Oak / Mountain Laurel Forest on or near ridgetops and hilltops where the soil is dry, acidic, and infertile. In Rock Creek Park, this natural community grows on coarse soil, over ancient river deposits of cobbles, gravels and sand that cap some ridges in the park. Listen to a podcast about this natural community.

Can you find this combination of key features?

Identifying This Natural Community

If so, welcome to Rock Creek Park’s Chestnut Oak / Mountain Laurel Forest!

Not sure? Check out Tips to Distinguish (below), or try the Compare Natural Communities tool in the right sidebar.

Tips to Distinguish Chestnut Oak / Mountain Laurel Forest from Mixed Oak / Heath Forest at Rock Creek Park