Piedmont Granite Outcrops
Piedmont Granitic Outcrops are outcroppings of granitoid rock, including granite, granitic gneiss, and migmatite. They may be steep-sided domes or pavement-like "flatrocks." Expanses of rock are interspersed with a mosaic of vegetation that includes lichens and mosses colonizing bare rock and shallow depressions supporting annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees. Annuals dominate the shallowest soils. Some depressions in the rock fill with water in winter and spring (and are known as "vernal pools"). The outcrops are sometimes called "biological deserts" because of the extreme heat and dryness they experience in summer. A variety of birds and pollinators make the outcrops home.
What's special: granite outcrops are among the crown jewels of Georgia's natural communities because they are spectacularly beautiful and they host many endemic species. In early spring, red diamorpha (elf orpine), yellow ragwort, and other wildflowers carpet many areas, and vernal pools host rare plants, tadpoles, and fairy shrimp. In the fall, endemic Stone Mountain daisies are in flower, creating huge swathes of bright color that contrast with other fall wildflowers. Georgia has more of these outcrops than any other state.
Related to: Similar to Glades and Barrens, which lack the well-developed dish gardens, dome shape, and temporary pools.
Learn MORE HERE about plant adaptations to rocky places. Learn MORE HERE about Piedmont rock types and their affect on plants.
Birds of the outcrops and surrounding woodlands
Click on a plant name to see images. Plant lists in order by scientific name.
Downy serviceberry Amelanchier arborea
Dwarf hackberry Celtis tenuifolia
Eastern red cedar Juniperus virginiana
Black cherry Prunus serotina
Shortleaf pine Pinus echinata
Loblolly pine Pinus taeda
Georgia oak Quercus georgiana
Blackjack oak Quercus marilandica
Rock chestnut oak Quercus montana
Post oak Quercus stellata
Winged elm Ulmus alata
Beautyberry Callicarpa americana
Fringe-tree Chionanthus virginicus
Wafer ash Ptelea trifoliata
Winged sumac Rhus copallinum
Sparkleberry Vaccinium arboreum
Curlyleaf yucca Yucca filamentosa
Trumpet vine Campsis radicans
Carolina jessamine Gelsemium sempervirens
Coral honeysuckle Lonicera sempervirens
Virginia creeper Parthenocissus quinquefolia
Greenbrier (whiteleaf/sawbrier) Smilax glauca
Muscadine Vitis rotundifolia
Slender gerardia Agalinis tenuifolia
Flatrock onion Allium speculae
Erect dayflower Commelina erecta
Large-flowered coreopsis Coreopsis grandiflora
Glade rushfoil Croton wildenowii
Poorjoe Diodia teres
Diamorpha/Elf-orpine Diamorpha cymosa
Snorklewort/Pool sprite Gratiola amphiantha
Stone Mountain daisy Helianthus porteri
Pineweed Hypericum gentianoides
Dwarf dandelion Krigia virginica
Small-head blazing star Liatris microcephala
Early saxifrage Micranthes virginiensis
Sandwort Minuartia uniflora
False garlic Nothoscordum bivalve
Toadflax Nuttallanthus canadensis
Sundrops Oenothera fruticosa
Eastern prickly pear Opuntia humifusa
Woolly ragwort/Rabbit ears Packera tomentosa
Flatrock phacelia Phacelia maculata
Appalachian rockpink Phemeranthus teretifolius
Pokeweed Phytolacca americana
Rock outcrop milkwort Polygala curtisii
Sunnybells Schoenolirion croceum
Hairy spiderwort Tradescantia hirsuticaulis
Smooth spiderwort Tradescantia ohiensis
Grasses, Sedges and Rushes
Bentgrass Agrostis elliottiana (drawing only)
Old-field broomstraw Andropogon virginicus
Downy oat grass Danthonia sericea
Poverty oat grass Danthonia spicata
Little bluestem Schizachyrium scoparium
Reindeer lichens Cladonia/Cladina spp.
Rockmoss Grimmia laevigata
Crustose lichens Parmelia spp.
Haircap moss Polytrichum commune
Representative trees in order by scientific name
Representative shrubs and woody vines in order by scientific name.
Representative ground layer plants in order of scientific name.