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A flora of the 3800 ha Rocky Fork Tract in northeast Tennessee produced 749 species of which 19 were on the Tennessee Rare Plant List and 34 were on the Cherokee National Forest Species Viability List with 87 county records from Greene County and 217 from Unicoi County. Rare species were particularly numerous in the Cyperaceae and Orchidaceae. The tract serves as a refuge for several regionally uncommon species by supporting either large populations or metapopulations of these species. Exotic species comprised 15% of the flora and were most common in the Fabaceae and Poaceae. The most unique habitat was a heath bald dominated by Rhododendron catawbiense with abundant Xerophyllum asphodeloides in the herbaceous layer. While species richness was relatively high compared to regional sites of comparable area, diversity was limited by the absence of high elevation spruce-fir communities and the paucity of wetlands.

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© Botanical Research Institute of Texas. This document was published with permission from the journal. It was originally published in the Journal of Botanical Research Institute of Texas.