Almost the entire area of Georgia was forested in early colonial times, and 67 percent of the land is still covered by forests and woodlands. Mixed forests of deciduous and coniferous trees cover most of the Blue Ridge and Appalachian mountain areas. Common trees in these areas include species of ash, beech, birch, hemlock, hickory, poplar, sweetgum, sycamore, red oak, white oak, and Virginia, shortleaf, and loblolly pines. Pines which predominate on the Piedmont are loblolly and shortleaf. On the coastal plains, slash, loblolly, and longleaf pines are found. The live oak, the state tree, flourishes in the southern part of the coastal plains. Palmettos are found in areas of sandy soil, and bald cypresses and tupelo gums are common in swampy and poorly drained areas. Spanish moss festoons many of the cypresses in Okefenokee Swamp. Other trees found in the state include the red maple, sweet bay, black cherry, butternut, sassafras, southern magnolia, cottonwood, locust, and elm.
Okefenokee Swamp is a unique part of Georgia, a vast wilderness of marshlands, floating green lily pads, wild orchids, and bald cypresses draped in Spanish moss.
Flowering plants grow in great profusion in Georgia. Those native to the state include the trillium, galax, bellwort, hepatica, mayapple, bloodroot, violet, columbine, lady slipper, and Cherokee rose, which is the state flower. Among the many shrubs and small flowering trees common in Georgia are species of laurel, mimosa, redbud, flowering dogwood, rhododendron, and flame azalea.
The soils of the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains include clays, loams, and large areas of gray, sandy soils. The clays and loams are productive when farmed. The sandy soils are generally too dry and too poor in organic matter for farming unless large amounts of fertilizer are used.
The soils of the Piedmont and the other Appalachian regions range from light-colored sandy loams, which are underlain by clay subsoils, to reddish clay loams and sticky red clays. Soil erosion has been especially severe in the hilly sections of the Piedmont. In many areas the sandy loams have been completely removed by erosion and the underlying clay subsoils exposed. Parts of the Cumberland Plateau, which is underlain mainly by limestones and shales, have fertile red or brown loams, but only the more level sections are farmed. "Georgia" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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