Pink Ladyslipper

Pink ladyslipper growing in the pine savannah at Cold Harbor

(NPS Photo)

Due to environmental factors and a long history of anthropogenic effects, Richmond National Battlefield Park contains diverse plant communities in a variety of successional stages. Although approximately 70% of the park's acreage is forested, habitats range from open grasslands, savannah-like pinelands, many acres of riparian wetlands, and stream side communities.

This creates an excellent opportunity for visitors to experience a wide variety of habitats across, and even within, the park's many units. For example, the Beaver Dam Creek unit consists primarily of a wide wetland area bordering the creek, although a small percentage of the surrounding floodplain is forested. The Cold Harbor unit, is made up primarily of drier upland areas where the park maintains an open savannah-like pine forest with the use of prescribed fire. The vegetation at Malvern Hill and Glendale units is a reflection of the diverse landscapes which range from flat uplands, to rich coves, drier side slopes, moist bottomlands, and wetlands. Finally, the Fort Harrison unit is primarily composed of forest, however it contains several miles of civil war fortifications maintained in either open forest or native grass for the visibility of the visiting public. The open forest community provides habitat for such forest herbs as pink ladyslipper (Cypripedium acaule) and false soloman's-seal (Smilacina racemosa).

Through combinations of active management and natural factors, Richmond National Battlefield Park's native plant diversity is being preserved for generations to come.

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