Mafic Dome Rock Outcrops
Mafic Domes are rock outcrops below 4,000 feet, on or or perhaps near mafic (high in magnesium, iron,and often calcium) rocks, such as amphibolite or hornblende gneiss. There is usually in a mosaic of glades, barrens, and woodlands scattered over an expanse of rock. These outcrops will host many species not found on more acidic rock, and can harbor rare plants.
Indicator species: An abundance of eastern red cedar, white ash, wafer-ash, and/or hickories is a good indication of mafic conditions.
What's special: The rock outcrops provide openings that offer great views of receding mountain ridges. The additional nutrients in the bedrock, combined with the harsh conditions of the exposed rock enable interesting plant communities to develop.
Related communities: At close to 4,000 feet, this natural community grades into and overlaps High Elevation Outcrops. As nutrients decline, this community grades into Low to Mid Elevation Acidic Cliffs and Outcrops, and Pine-Oak Woodlands.
Learn MORE HERE about plant adaptations to rocky places.
Learn MORE HERE about rock types and their affect on plants.
Click on the highlighted plant names below for images.
Pignut hickory Carya glabra
White ash Fraxinus americana
Eastern red cedar Juniperus virginana
Shortleaf pine Pinus echinata
Virginia pine Pinus virginiana
Rock chestnut oak Quercus montana
Black chokeberry Aronia melanocarpa
Fringe-tree Chionanthus virginicus
Smooth hydrangea Hydrangea arborescens
Shrubby St.-John's-wort Hypericum prolificum
St. Andrew's cross Hypericum stragulum
Wafer ash Ptelea trifoliata
Smooth sumac Rhus glabra
Coralberry Symphoricarpos orbiculatus
Sparkleberry Vaccinium arboreum
Deerberry Vaccinium stamineum
Harebell Campanula divaricata
Hairy coreopsis Coreopsis pubescens
Creeping aster Eurybia surculosa
Narrowleaf sunflower Helianthus angustifolius
Appalachian sunflower Helianthus atrorubens
Hairy sunflower Helianthus hirsutus
Roughleaf sunflower Helianthus strumosus
Rock alumroot Heuchera villosa
Cliff saxifrage Hydatica petiolaris
Pineweed Hypericum gentianoides
Mountain dwarf-dandelion Krigia montana
Appalachian ragwort Packera anonyma
Appalachian rock-pink Phemeranthus teretifolius
Appalachian milkwort Polygala curtissii
Glade knotweed Polygonum tenue
Narrow-leaf white-topped aster Sericocarpus linifolius
Licorice goldenrod Solidago odora
Common clasping aster Symphyotrichum patens
Big bluestem Andropogon gerardii
Common hairsedge Bulbostylis capillaris
Common bottlebrush grass Elymus hystrix
Poverty oat-grass Danthonia spicata
Little bluestem Schizachyrium scoparium
Yellow Indiangrass Sorghastrum nutans
Ferns and Fern Allies
Hairy lipfern Cheilanthes lanosa
Marginal woodfern Dryopteris marginalis
Rock spikemoss Selaginella rupestris
Blunt-lobed cliff fern Woodsia obtusa
Representative Trees in order by scientific name
Representative Shrubs in order by scientific name
Representative Ground Layer plants in order by scientific name