Flora and fauna

Maryland's three life zones—coastal plain, piedmont, and Appalachian—mingle wildlife characteristic of both North and South. Most of the state lies within a hardwood belt in which red and white oaks, yellow poplar, beech, blackgum, hickory, and white ash are represented; shortleaf and loblolly pines are the leading softwoods. Honeysuckle, Virginia creeper, wild grape, and wild raspberry are also common. Wooded hillsides are rich with such wild flowers as Carolina cranesbill, trailing arbutus, Mayapple, early blue violet, wild rose, and goldenrod. Seven plant species were listed as threatened or endangered in 2003, including Canby's dropwort, sandplain gerardia, northeastern bulrush, and harperella.

The white-tailed (Virginia) deer, eastern cottontail, raccoon, and red and gray foxes are indigenous to Maryland, although urbanization has sharply reduced their habitat. Common small mammals are the woodchuck, eastern chipmunk, and gray squirrel. The brown-headed nuthatch has been observed in the extreme south, the cardinal and tufted titmouse are common in the piedmont, and the chestnut-sided warbler and rose-breasted grosbeak are native to the Appalachians. Among saltwater species, shellfish—especially oysters, clams, and crabs—have the greatest economic importance. Nineteen Maryland animal species were listed as threatened or endangered in 2003, including the Indiana bat, Maryland darter, bald eagle, Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel, three species of whale, and five species of turtle.