Basic Oak - Hickory Forest (Western Piedmont-Lower Blue Ridge)

Park specific natural communities coming soon.

In this natural community, oaks and hickories grow on slopes underlain by bedrock that contains base-rich minerals that help create fertile soil. Look for northern red oak, chestnut oak, and red hickory. (There is more than one type of Basic Oak - Hickory Forest; this one is found in the Western Piedmont and Lower Blue Ridge.) 

The Basic Oak - Hickory Forest is found on lower- to middle-elevation slopes in the northern Blue Ridge and adjacent western Piedmont.

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

More About This Natural Community

Trees in the Basic Oak - Hickory Forest include northern red oak, chestnut oak, red hickory, pignut hickory, mockernut hickory, tuliptree, white ash, eastern redbud, and flowering dogwood. In the shrub layer, look for mapleleaf viburnum. A large number of different species grow on the forest floor, including cutleaf toothwort, wreath goldenrod, naked-flower tick-trefoil, broadleaf enchanter’s-nightshade, and rattlesnake fern.

This natural community usually occurs atop igneous or metamorphic bedrock that is rich in elements like calcium and magnesium that make the soil less acidic and more fertile.

For a more in-depth look at this community, click on a link under “Where to Explore It.”

Look for It in These National Parks

  • Appalachian Trail (Central Appalachians)
  • Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Catoctin Mountain Park
  • Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park
  • Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
  • Monocacy National Battlefield
  • Shenandoah National Park 

Conservation Status

How vulnerable is a natural community? Is it at risk of elimination? Learn about conservation status.

Global Conservation Status: 
G3G4 – Vulnerable to Apparently Secure


Official names reduce confusion by providing a common language for talking about natural communities. Why so many names?

Common Name: 
Basic Oak - Hickory Forest (Western Piedmont-Lower Blue Ridge)
Scientific Name Translated: 
Northern Red Oak - Chestnut Oak - Red Hickory / (Eastern Redbud) / Wreath Goldenrod Forest
Classification Code: