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Vegetation of Alabama


PLants of Alabama
PLants of Alabama

Alabama has a wide variety of soils. The most fertile are the limestone-derived loams and clays of the Tennessee Valley and of the Black Belt. Good farming soils are also found in the major river valleys and along the northern edge of the Gulf Coastal Plain. The sandy loams of the Cumberland Plateau and the southern Gulf Coastal Plain are easy to work, and good crops can be produced with the aid of fertilizers and crop rotation. In many parts of the state, however, the soils are now quite infertile, mainly because of poor farming practices over a long period of years.

Plants grow luxuriantly throughout Alabama, because of the abundant rainfall, mild climate, and long frost-free season. Forests and woodlands cover 70 percent of the state. Hardwood species, such as chinkapin oak, tupelo, and bald cypress, which is frequently festooned with Spanish moss, are characteristic of the bottomlands of the southern river valleys. Chestnut oak, black oak, southern red oak, and species of hickory dominate the limestone valleys and uplands of the north, and species of oak and pine are frequently found in association in the northern sections of the Gulf Coastal Plain and the Appalachian Region. Most of the Gulf Coastal Plain and the Piedmont, however, lie in the vast southern pine region, where southern longleaf, shortleaf, loblolly, and slash pine are the principal species. The longleaf pine is the state tree of Alabama.

Many flowering trees, such as the magnolia, and ornamental shrubs, such as the snow wreath, are native to Alabama. Mountain laurel, huckleberries, blackberries, sumac, and mistletoe grow wild in much of the state. Cane, one of the many native grasses, forms dense thickets in the south. Goldenrod, evening primrose, hairy vetch, White Cherokee rose, black-eyed Susan, hydrangea, yellow jessamine, and other wildflowers add color to the rural landscape. The state flower is the camellia.

Animals


Few large mammals inhabit Alabama. The black bear is found in the swampy areas in the south, and white-tailed deer live in the northwest and southwest. There are some beaver colonies in central Alabama. Raccoon, opossum, weasel, otter, and a variety of rats, mice, rabbits, and foxes are common in most parts of the state. The muskrat and the southern woodchuck are also found in Alabama. Many species of birds have been identified in Alabama, including the bald eagle, the osprey, the northern harrier, the turkey vulture, the boat-tailed grackle, the purple gallinule, the long-billed marsh wren, and the seaside sparrow.

The northern flicker, also known as the yellowhammer, is the state bird and the most common woodpecker found in Alabama. An important flyway for migratory waterfowl extends across Alabama from the Tennessee River valley to the Gulf Coast, and millions of ducks and geese winter on the bayous of the Mobile river delta and on the coastal marshes.

Alligators, the largest reptiles in the state, are found in the southern swamps. Poisonous snakes found in Alabama are the copperhead, the cottonmouth (water moccasin), the rattlesnake, and the coral snake. In addition, there are many species of nonpoisonous snakes. Other reptiles include numerous varieties of turtles and lizards. Frogs are the most common amphibian. The lakes on the Tennessee and other rivers abound in bass, crappie, bream, and catfish. Along the Gulf Coast shrimps, pompano, tarpon, mullet, red snapper, crabs, and oysters are found. "USA" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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