The C&O Canal is one of the most biologically diverse parks in the National Park system, especially in regard to plant species. The park has recorded over 1,500 species of vascular plants, including over 260 non-native plant species. Over 100 state-listed rare, threatened, or endangered plant species found within the park, in addition to one federally endangered plant species. The number of rare plants is one of the highest concentrations of state-listed rare plants in the eastern United States.
The Potomac River create a mosaic of different natural habitats. As the park winds westward from just below the Fall Line to western Maryland, a variety of geologic formations support diverse native plant communities. Areas along the Potomac River are subject to frequent floods, causing canopy gaps, scouring, and deposition that creates a diversity of habitats and organisms.
Last updated: May 4, 2020