The Cove Forest

Cove forests are unique ecosystems found exclusively in North America, in the southern Appalachian Mountains of the United States. They are a special type of forest known as mixed deciduous, meaning that forest's trees lose their leaves in fall. Cove forests are restricted to mountain "coves," which are bowl-shaped valleys with very rich, fertile, damp soil. Many cove forests have streams wandering through part of the forest. The cove forests of the South exhibit the greatest plant and tree diversity of any forests in the United States.

The cove forests of South Carolina are restricted to the northwest portion of the state, extending from the north of Westminster to north of Greenville, Jones Gap State Park, Table Rock State Park, Oconee State Park, and Caesars Head State Park all contain cove forest communities. For more information, view the credits or find out how to plan a trip to a cove forest.

---

PLEASE NOTE:

  • Adobe will stop updating and distributing the Flash Player at the end of 2020.
  • We plan to officially retire The Cove Forest - FLASH VERSION June 2020. 
  • All content from the Flash version has been extracted to HTML below.
Type
A Coniferous and Flowering Tree | The Cove Forest
A Coniferous and Flowering Tree | The Cove Forest

Photo

There are two main groups of trees -- coniferous trees and flowering trees. Coniferous trees generally produce seeds in cones, have needle-like leaves and are evergreen. In contrast, flowering trees...
Acadian Flycatcher | The Cove Forest
Acadian Flycatcher | The Cove Forest

Photo

(Empidonax virescens) This flycatcher prefers deciduous forests that are associated with relatively moist habitats such as those found along rivers. High affinity for sites with high shrub densities...
Basswood | The Cove Forest
Basswood | The Cove Forest

Photo

(Tilia americana) A medium to large tree that frequently occurs in the understory but may also reach the canopy. The large heart-shaped leaves are finely toothed and have an asymmetrical base. The...
Beech | The Cove Forest
Beech | The Cove Forest

Photo

(Fagus grandifolia) The smooth gray bark, sharp-pointed buds, and papery toothed leaves make beech one of the easiest trees to identify. Because it can tolerate deep shade, individuals occur both in...
Black-Bellied Salamander | The Cove Forest
Black-Bellied Salamander | The Cove Forest

Video

(Desmognathus quadramaculatus) This is the largest of the lungless salamanders in the cove forests. They are usually found in streams that have a rocky bottom and usually rest on wet rocks near these...
Black-Throated Blue Warbler | The Cove Forest
Black-Throated Blue Warbler | The Cove Forest

Photo

(Dendroica caerulescens) This warbler prefers to forages in the shrub layer associated with the cove forests, especially rhododendron thickets, hobble bush and mountain laurel. Has an affinity for...
Bloodroot | The Cove Forest
Bloodroot | The Cove Forest

Photo

(Sanguinaria Canadensis) Bloodroot is one of the first plants to bloom in spring. Only one flower and one leaf is produced per plant. The large white flower opens in the day and closes at night. The...
Canada Hemlock | The Cove Forest
Canada Hemlock | The Cove Forest

Photo

Almost all trees in cove forests are deciduous - that is, they drop their leaves in the fall and produce new ones in spring. The Canada hemlock, in contrast, is an evergreen - it retains its needle...
Canada Violet  | The Cove Forest
Canada Violet | The Cove Forest

Photo

(Viola canadensis) This relatively tall violet with heart-shaped leaves is frequently encountered in cove forests. It produces many white flowers that fade to purple with age. Often found in clumps...
Carolina Silverbell | The Cove Forest
Carolina Silverbell | The Cove Forest

Photo

(Halesia tetraptera) This small to medium-sized understory tree has distinctive white-yellow vertical streaks on its young stems. In early spring it produces white bell-shaped flowers that develop...