The Appalachian-Blue Ridge Forests of eastern USA are among the world’s most biodiverse temperate broadleaved forests. This region includes Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the US National Park system’s most biodiverse park (over 19000 documented species) and most visited (over 11 million people in 2016).
In early spring of 2012, however, the region seemed (to me) to be relatively sedate, especially along the Blue Ridge Parkway where this photo was taken. I suppose the subtlety of early springtime textures cannot compete with the flashy brilliance of autumn colours or summer escapes from the humidity of the coast. Still, seeing plants stripped bare of their leaves is a good way to observe the diversity of species, if not the species themselves. I count at least 6 species (though I am only somewhat certain of one identification–the white-flowered Amelanchier laevis), but the Appalachians are home to nearly 160 tree species. No other region of North America has such tree diversity.
Eastern North American temperate hardwood forests reach their northern extent in southern Ontario; Canadians call it the Carolinian Forest. At UBC Botanical Garden, we attempt to replicate this biodiverse ecosystem in our Carolinian Forest Garden.