Plant species in the Georgia mountains make their home in one of Georgia's three main geographical regions: mountains, Piedmont or coastal plain. High mountain ridges make up northern Georgia and are populated by a variety of plants, including white pine and mountain laurel, that have adjusted to the local diverse ecology. The region features extreme elevation changes, consistent rainfall, river systems and generally cool temperatures.
Mountain laurel (Kalmia latafolia) is a plant species in the Georgia mountains, according to the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. Mountain laurels display white, pink or red flowers and dark green foliage. Thriving in full sun with tolerance to partial shade, mountain laurel prefers acidic, well-aerated soil and grows to a height of 12 to 15 feet, according to the Clemson University Extension. Mountain laurel is a native shrub to Georgia as well as to dry, rocky woodland areas.
White pine (Pinus strobus), also referred to as Eastern white pine, is a native plant species in the Georgia mountains, according to the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. Evergreen white pine trees display brown cones measuring 6 to 8 inches in length and blue-green bundled needles. Thriving in full sun to partial shade, white pines prefer moist, well-drained soil and reach a height of 50 to 80 feet, as documented by the North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension.
Sugar maple trees (Acer saccharum) are a plant species native to the Georgia mountains, according to the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. Deciduous sugar maples display densely arranged, green-lobed leaves that turn to hues of yellow, orange and red during the autumn season. Sugar maple trees thrive in full sun to partial shade, prefer moist, well-drained soil, grow to a height of 50 to 75 feet and are found in areas with spacious root zones, according to the North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension.
Small Whorled Pogonia
Small whorled pogonia (Isotria medeoloides) is a native plant species found in the Georgia mountains. An endangered species, the perennial small whorled pogonia displays yellow-green petals (resembling those of an orchid) and a whorl of five to six gray-green leaves, according to the Warnell School of Forest Resources. Thriving in partial shade, the small whorled pogonia is found in wet soil and swampy, wooded areas with deciduous and coniferous trees. The small whorled pogonia grows to a height of 6 to 10 inches.
- University of Georgia Cooperative Extension: Native Plants for Georgia; Gary Wade, Elaine Nash, Ed McDowell, Brenda Beckham and Sharlys Crisafulli
- Georgia State Climate Office: Climatology of the Georgia Mountains
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Federally Threatened and Endangered Plants found in Georgia
- Clemson State University: Laurel
- North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension: Eastern White Pine
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