Georgia - Flora and fauna



Georgia has some 250 species of trees, 90% of which are of commercial importance. White and scrub pines, chestnut, northern red oak, and buckeye cover the mountain zone, while loblolly and shortleaf (yellow) pines and whiteback maple are found throughout the piedmont. Pecan trees grow densely in southern Georgia, and white oak and cypress are plentiful in the eastern part of the state. Trees found throughout the state include red cedar, scaly-bark and white hickories, red maple, sycamore, yellow poplar, sassafras, sweet and black gums, and various dogwoods and magnolias. Common flowering shrubs include yellow jasmine, flowering quince, and mountain laurel. Spanish moss grows abundantly on the coast and around the streams and swamps of the entire coastal plain. Kudzu vines, originally from Asia, are ubiquitous.

The state lists 58 protected plants, of which 23—including hairty rattleweed, Alabama leather flower, smooth coneflower, two species of quillwort, pondberry, Canby's dropwort, harperella, fringed campion, and two specied of trillium—are endangered.

Prominent among Georgia fauna is the white-tailed (Virginia) deer, found in some 50 counties. Other common mammals are the black bear, muskrat, raccoon opossum, mink, common cottontail, and three species of squirrel—fox, gray, and flying. No fewer than 160 birds species breed in Georgia, among them the mockingbird, brown thrasher (the state bird), and numerous sparrows; the Okefenokee Swamp is home to the sandhill piper, snowy egret, and white ibis. The bobwhite quail is the most popular game bird. There are 79 species of reptile, including such poisonous snakes as the rattler, copperhead, and cottonmouth moccasin. The state's 63 amphibian species consist mainly of various salamanders, frogs, and toads. The most popular freshwater game fish are trout, bream, bass, and catfish, all but the last of which are produced in state hatcheries for restocking. Dolphins, porpoises, shrimp, oysters, and blue crabs are found off the Georgia coast.

Forty-three animal species were considered endangered or threatened by the US Fish and Wildlife Service as of August 2003. Among these are the bald eagle, eastern indigo snake, West Indian manatee, four species of moccasinshell, five species of turtle, wood stork, three species of whale, red-cockaded woodpecker, and shortnose sturgeon.



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