Prior to European settlement, most of Delaware was covered by forest. However, much of the original tree cover was cut for timber, fuel, and agricultural purposes in the 17th and 18th centuries. Today 31 percent of the state remains forested, although nearly all existing forests have been harvested for timber at some time in the past. The principal deciduous trees include oak, hickory, beech, maple, gums, and ash. Loblolly pine, found chiefly in the southern part of the state, is the principal conifer. In the sandy coastal areas are found pitch pine, loblolly pine, red cedar, and bayberry. The bald cypress, common in the South, has its northernmost stand in North America in the Great Cypress Swamp, where Atlantic white cedar and other trees can also be found.
Wild flowers are found in great abundance between early spring and late fall. Common wild flowers include the crocus, violet, azalea, honeysuckle, pink lady’s slipper, and aster. The water lily is common in freshwater lakes and ponds throughout the state. The hibiscus grows in salt marshes, and the swamp magnolia along the coast. The blossom of the peach tree is the state flower of Delaware.
The white-tailed deer is the only large game animal found in Delaware today. Other animals found there include the fox, raccoon, chipmunk, rabbit, mole, muskrat, mink, otter, and some beaver. Among the wide variety of birds found in Delaware are the robin, Carolina wren, starling, boat-tailed grackle, wood thrush, purple grackle, catbird, cardinal, tufted titmouse, blue jay, and ruby-throated hummingbird.
There are also a number of species of warbler, woodpecker, vireo, and sparrow in the state. The woodcock, snipe, quail, mourning dove, and pheasant are the principal game birds. Shore and water birds include the great blue heron, snowy egret, black duck, blue-winged teal, and species of sandpipers, gulls, and terns. The snapping turtle is common in the swamps. Snakes include the hognose snake, the blackrat snake, the garter snake, and the copperhead, the only poisonous snake in the state.
Crabs and clams are gathered in Delaware Bay, although their numbers are drastically reduced from former years, while oysters have been almost eliminated by a combination of diseases. Bass, perch, pike, trout, and other game fish are common in many lakes, ponds, and smaller streams in the state. Other fish include sturgeon, catfish, and drumfish. "Delaware" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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