Forest land occupies 51 percent of the total land area of Louisiana. Trees once covered nearly all of Louisiana, but since the late 18th, and especially in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, large areas have been cleared for agriculture and other uses. Much of the forest land is covered by second-growth or third-growth timber.
Stands of shortleaf and loblolly pines and upland hardwoods are found in the hilly northwest and southeast. Many of the 150 species of trees native to Louisiana are found in the hardwood forests located principally in the Red River valley and along the higher sections of the Mississippi River delta. They include species of oaks, gums, and ashes.
Among the abundant spring wild flowers that are associated with the hardwood forests are the yellow jasmine, wild azalea, silver bell, dogwood, and redbud. The blossom of the magnolia tree is the state flower.
On poorly drained land along the rivers in the southern part of the state are found the bald cypress, which is the state tree, as well as live oak, gum, sycamore, cottonwood, and willow. Spanish moss hangs from the evergreen live oak and the bald cypress. Sedge, marsh grass, and rushes cover most of the coastal areas, and many flowering swamp plants bloom throughout the year. On the higher, sandy lands of southern Louisiana, forests of longleaf and slash pines are common. These pinewoods have the greatest abundance of wild flowers in the state, including deer grass, ground orchids, phloxes, asters, Saint-John’s-worts, wild peas, and star grass. Tall grasses with trees along stream courses characterize the prairies of southwest Louisiana. Encarta "Louisiana" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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