Nature & Science

Two rows of live oak trees form a oak allee lining the entrance lane from Cane River to Oakland's Main House
The Oak Allee in front of the Main House of Oakland Plantation

NPS Photo: A. Jones

Cane River Creole National Historical Park is home to various plants and animals that are an integral part of the Louisiana experience. To gain an understanding of the diversity, one must visit the park during all four seasons.

In summer, visitors find solace from the heat under the branches of the park’s live oak trees. The oaks lining the entrance to the main house at Oakland are especially magnificent. These trees are believed to have been planted in the late 18th century. The allée that they form was intended to act as a “breeze way” in order to keep the main house cooler.

Fall is the time for pecans. Visitors can stroll the grounds of Oakland and Magnolia and pick up handfuls of this Louisiana favorite. The park contains smaller native pecans, and larger hybrids. Pecans have played a constant role in the story of both plantations. During the 1940s the Oakland yard-man, Leo Metoyer financed a Model-A Ford with a season’s worth of pecans that he had harvested.

As winter arrives, the Resurrection Fern which grows on the limbs of live oaks will still appear vibrant and green. This plant is not at the will of the seasons or temperatures, but at the amount of rainfall. So when the cold, rainy winter claims many local plants, the Resurrection Fern flourishes.

Spring is a vivacious time along Cane River. Visitors are often enchanted by the variety of colors produced by the camellias and crepe myrtles, and one cannot ignore the scent and sight of the blooms dotting the southern magnolias, Louisiana’s state flower. Migratory birds also return to the park during the spring, adding their sweet song to the plantation atmosphere.

 
A red camellia flower
Camellia Flower in the Bottle Garden at Oakland.

NPS Photo

Last updated: February 24, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

400 Rapides Dr. (Headquarters)
Natchitoches, LA 71457

Phone:

(318) 352-0383 x316

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