Rich Mountain   Jess
  Mar 17, 2002 14:38 PST 
     Rich Mountain is a 1740' peak four miles west of Walhalla SC. in the
extreme northwestern part of the state. The name of the mountain probably
comes from the rich soils on the mountain that are derived from a zone of
calcareous rock known as the Brevard Belt. The quality of the soil is
reflected in the diversity of tree species and the occurrence of rare
herbaceous plants in the area. Diversity is lower in the steep eastern
coves than in the narrow, gradually descending coves on the west face of
the mountain. Tuliptree, northern red oak, white oak, and white ash are
the dominant canopy species in the coves. The shrub layer is largely open
although patches of bigleaf snowbell are found on the upper slopes and
rosebay rhododendron follows the streams on the lower slopes. Flowering
dogwood and eastern redbud are the most common canopy species. Black
walnut is an uncommon species in the Blue Ridge of Georgia and South
Carolina that grows in the coves. Given the richness of the soils and the
profusion of rich cove species the rarity of black cherry at the site is
     A prominent botanist has described the west side of the mountain as
supporting old growth northern red oak-tuliptree forest; however, logging
roads follow many of the ridges and cut across the top of some of the coves
on that side of the mountain. Also, the young form of the canopy trees and
the presence of, although rapidly declining, early successional species
such as black locust suggests the is unlikely to be much more than 100
years old. The confusion about the age of the forest may have resulted
from the large diameters of the trees. The circumferences at the site are
exceptional for a second growth forest with several scattered trees of
multiple species exceeding ten feet cbh.
     Barton Creek drains the west side of the mountain, Ramsey Creek the
east side, and Findley Branch parallels the ridge extending south from the
mountain. In addition to the trees listed below one white oak in the
Findley Br. drainage is approximately 110' tall and 3.5' cbh for a ratio of
99:1. The tree is in a white oak dominated stand on a broad, gently
inclined, south facing slope at the top of the drainage. Most oaks in the
stand are six to seven feet cbh and 115' to 120' tall.

Species        Cbh Height    Drainage
Ash, White          9'4.5"    127.0'     Barton
Buckeye, Painted    2'8"      Ramsey
Hickory, Mockernut 5'9.5"    131.3'     Ramsey
Hickory, Pignut          8'11"     132.8'     Barton
Magnolia, Cucumbertree 7'5" 115.4'     Barton
Oak, Black               114.8'    Findley
Oak, Chestnut       6'3.5"    123.3'     Barton
Oak, White          6'3" 126.8'    Barton
Oak, White          11'1"     120.4'     Barton
Snowbell       8"        Findley
Sourwood       7'2"      Barton
Sweetgum       4'4" 117.2'    Barton
Sweetleaf      1'6" 40.4'     Ramsey
Tuliptree           139.5'    Barton
Tuliptree      11'11"    144.8'    Barton

Jess Riddle