“Biological diversity is the key to the maintenance of the world as we know it.”
~ E.O. Wilson, Biodiversity
Below are definitions of the various ‘native environments’ inhabited by plants in the Native Plant Database.
Forest: Areas dominated by trees with more than 80% canopy cover. Multiple layers of woody plants with canopy trees, understory trees, shrubs, and vines. Includes upland forest to well drained and somewhat poorly drained bottomland forest. Deep canopy shade by summer.
Savanna and Woodland: Savannas are grasslands with scattered trees (10-30%). Woodlands have dappled sunlight on the ground through summer with an open understory and tree canopy cover ranging from 30-80%. Historically, savannas and woodlands developed with periodic fires that maintained a dense ground layer rich in forbs, grasses, and sedges.
Prairie: Dought-tolerant and fire-adapted native grasslands dominated by grasses, forbs, and sedges adapted to full sunlight conditions. Habitats rich in wildflower species.
Glade: Rocky openings, primarily in the Ozarks, typically on southern and western slopes. Dought-tolerant, sun-demanding grasses, forbs, and shrubs dominate.
Wetland: Habitats influenced by periodic flooding and/or growing in flooded conditions. Wetlands include marshes, swamps, shrub swamps, sloughs, fens, and seeps.
Stream Edge: The riparian zone along streams that is influenced by flooding and stream dynamics.
Cliff: Vertical or stair-step-like rock outcrops that can range from dry to moist depending on the cliff’s aspect and surrounding topography.