Roundtop Mountain   Jess Riddle
  May 04, 2003 15:54 PDT 

Roundtop Mountain, located in SC about three mile south of NC, is narrow,
gneiss, ridge about 3000' in elevation. The north side of the mountain
includes cliffs and an uncut forest dominated by chestnut oak. At the top
of the cliffs and perched on boulders in the chestnut oak forest, grow old
carolina hemlocks. A boulderfield that has developed between a couple of
the cliffs, and the better watered, more sheltered area supports
tuliptree, black birch, northern red oak, silverbell, and white basswood.
One tuliptree that has been hollowed by fiver is 14'10" cbh, but most
trees in the boulderfield are much small. Below the big tuliptree,
evidence of cutting can be seen around the edge of the rocky area, but
soil fertility also appears to increase. The dense herbaceous layer in
this section include black cohosh and Viola canadensis, and the canopy
appears to be in the 100 to 150 year age range. One tuliptree in the area
is 138.2' tall and another is 10'2.5" cbh and at least 139.1' tall. Some
tuliptrees in the stand almost certainly exceed 140'. The real find of
the day was the cucumbertree growing amongst the tuliptrees. The tree,
which appears to have at least a partially broken crown, is 11'2" cbh and
123.7' tall. The tree has enough points to qualify as a state
co-champion, and is the largest diameter individual of the species I have
seen in SC. Adjacent drainages may have small areas of comparable forest.

Jess Riddle